With Today and its morning-show bridesmaid Good Morning America closer than usual in the ratings, NBC and ABC are trading publicity stunts. Former Today host Katie Couric has switched sides and is guest-hosting GMA this week, while in response, NBC is bringing on Kim Kardashian and the Kim Kardashian of politics, Sarah Palin. Although her hosting gig isn't until tomorrow, Palin called into the show as a teaser today and was promptly put down by Matt Lauer, who invoked ... his old partner, Katie Couric.
"What are you doing to prepare? Are you reading some newspapers?" Lauer asked Palin to a collective oooooh from the Today gang, alluding to Couric's infamous Palin gotcha. "That's a fine how do you do," Palin said, playing a good sport."That's a great start. Here we go!"
It was a zing, sure, but everyone wins here: The morning shows get more press than ever — including the cover of this morning's Daily News, which puts Palin and Couric in a boxing ring — and Palin gets to expand her network appearances ahead of the expiration of her Fox News contract. The ratings war is one thing, and may have consequences for, say, Matt Lauer's payday, but there's enough buzz — and viewers — to go around.