How does NBC top ABC's gambit of bringing in former Today star Katie Couric to co-host Good Morning America this week? By having one of Couric's most storied interview subjects, Sarah Palin, guest host the Today show on Tuesday. After their infamous 2008 interview, in which Couric stumped the vice presidential nominee simply by asking what newspapers she reads, the irony of pitting the two against each other anew "is just too sweet," says Chris Ariens at MediaBistro. When Palin was asked how it feels to face off against Couric when Today's ratings dominance is vulnerable for the first time since the mid-'90s, Palin told Big Hollywood, "Game on." As rating stunts go, how does pitting Palin against Couric rank?
It's brilliant: We love watching a person seeking revenge, and in this case, Palin "may just best Katie at her own game," says Julie Ryan Evans at The Stir. We already know what to expect from Katie: "Bubbly, cute, smiley, personable." But Palin is undeniably "fascinating, smart, and engaging," and thus perfectly suited for Today. I bet more people will tune in to Today out of sheer intrigue.
"Sarah Palin may beat Katie Couric at her own game"
It may backfire: This makes Today look weak, says Roger Friedman at Forbes. Drafting Palin seems like a rash, knee-jerk reaction to the news that Couric will be filling in at GMA. "It's very unlike the Today show to be defensive," suggesting that NBC may be more scared about its ratings troubles than it's letting on. Plus, bringing on Palin may not even be a smart move, since "the average Today viewer is certainly not a Palin follower."
"Today show flips out, brings in Sarah Palin, 'surprise' guest to ward off Katie Couric"
Don't read too much into it: It's only one day, says No More Mister Nice Blog, and we all know Palin lacks the "self-discipline necessary to learn the process of being a full-time broadcaster." Palin's Today stint will surely outdraw Couric's on GMA, but that proves nothing. This is a one-time-only appearance. If Palin hung around, "her ratings would plummet, as they did starting with the second episode of her reality show."
"So what is America's oldest pre-adolescent brat up to now?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Could better U.S.-Cuban relations thwart baseball's human smuggling problem?
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- How computers will replace your doctor
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
Subscribe to the Week