Bryant Gumbel: Sarah Palin Today Show Stunt Embarrassing

Former anchor for NBC’s Today from ’82 to ’97, Bryant Gumbel, conveyed his displeasure with the incorporation of Sarah Palin into the show as a countermeasure against another former Today anchor, Katie Couric, who guest-hosted Good Morning America on the same day.

The two rival shows, NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America, have been engaged in a long-running ratings competition, which NBC has been winning since December of 1995.

According to, morning television network news shows are cash cows and a drop in ratings could place millions of dollars in advertising revenue at stake.

Fortunately for NBC, their decision to utilize Palin was successful as they maintained their ratings lead with 210,000 more viewers than Good Morning America.

While Today has managed to maintain ratings superiority over their rivals, Bryant Gumbel was less than pleased with NBC’s winning strategy, which he told the Daily Beast was “embarrassing.” Gumbel was quoted having said:


“[Hosts] used to be judged not just on their popularity level but the extent to which they were capable of interviewing someone or reporting on a situation, or able to have a degree of gravitas. Now that is secondary to being popular.”

Sarah Palin wasn’t exactly what one might consider a natural when it came to co-hosting NBC’s Today show, however, there were points at which she exhibited characteristics such as charm and charisma. Regardless of her performance on the show, she did an excellent job boosting ratings as viewers rose from 5.06 million to 5.5 million.

What did you think of Sarah Palin’s Today performance and the aforementioned remarks made by Bryant Gumbel?

Sarah Palin Guest Hosts Today Show Video: