Mountains labor and mouse emerges,"" scoffed an early reviewer, but NBC's Today Show altered its format, ironed out the...

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THE TODAY SHOW

Mountains labor and mouse emerges,"" scoffed an early reviewer, but NBC's Today Show altered its format, ironed out the kinks, and developed into a heartland favorite and breakfast-table staple. Envisioned as a ""visual-verbal omelet"" with strong educational potential, it foundered for months despite droll Dave Garroway until the monkeyshines of J. Fred Muggs perked up morale and advertising revenues. Metz (CBS: Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye, 1975) focuses on on-and off-screen personalities, especially the series of egocentric hosts, a battery of producers, and the ""gofers and girls"" whose role was significantly upgraded by Barbara Walters. He follows Garroway (who relaxed via increasing doses of a Dexedrine-Vitamin B-molasses drink) from early exuberance through serious disintegration, speculates on the handling--or manhandling--of Muggs the chimp, records the ongoing news vs. entertainment conflict, and notes a real-life version of that Network joke about a frantic, pajama-clad man refused a cab ride to the George Washington Bridge. Much of this is rather beamish, and a chapter on Frank McGee's twilight affair with a staffer is altogether extraneous, but from his interviews Metz has gleaned a range of opinions on everyone involved (Joe Garagiola alone gets kudos ail around) and the scattered insults are eminently quotable. Thus Hugh Downs impressed his writers as ""a mashed potato sandwich"" and ""a mile wide and an inch deep,"" and newcomer Jane Pauley has ""the I.Q. of a cantaloupe."" Presumably Metz will be scheduled for an early appearance--reportedly good for an extra 5000 hardcover sales--but his audience seems limited to those who dress ""with an eye on the box and an eye on their socks.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1977

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Playboy

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1977