The network responds by quietly issuing a long list of viable replacements who could sit in Meredith's chair. Think of it as a warning: Ann Curry would have your office redecorated before you left the building.
The following day, Vieira delivered a masterstroke: She played the Trump card, interviewing the Donald on air.
I've long since given up trying to understand American politics, but apparently Trump is polling quite well among Republicans likely to vote in the next presidential election.
This surprises me because so far the only plank in Trump's platform seems to be that the rest of the world is laughing at us. And he thinks installing a guy with gravity-defying, off-orange, bird's-nest hair in the White House will bring us respect?
Then Vieira set her trap, casually asking why Trump hadn't yet declared himself a candidate.
Because, he said, he'd have to shut down Celebrity Apprentice if he were running for office. With typical Trumpian bluster, he went on to identify Celebrity Apprentice as the network's biggest hit.
Vieira didn't bother to point out how wrong that claim was. Probably didn't care. She had just used Trump to bolster her worth.
Point being, NBC doesn't have any hits. In fact, it doesn't have a single show in the Nielsen Top 20.
This line of questioning served as a not-so-subtle reminder that Today is NBC's golden goose, earning more than $450 million last year.
If NBC doesn't want to tamper with success, it had better show her the money.
Nicely played, Meredith. Nicely played.
The following day, it was "leaked" that Matt Lauer was considering leaving the show when his contract expires. Break out the checkbook, NBC.
Undone by fashion. Strange week on American Idol, with the unexpected ouster of presumed favorite Pia Toscano. (Unexpected, that is, unless you read my blog Thursday morning, predicting Toscano's downfall. Yep, I'm psychic.)
But it was amusing to see the shock and dismay on the judges' faces. Both Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson described themselves as "angry" about the result. They do know this is an elimination show, right? Sooner or later, all but one of these kids are going home.
Bet they're kicking themselves for having prematurely wasted their judges' save option on Casey Abrams.
I'll tell you what: If Pia had worn Thursday's push-up Catwoman outfit on performance night instead of that hideous monstrosity designed by Gwen Stefani, she'd still be with us.
Oversold. My DVR is working overtime with all the lavish mini-series on cable lately. The Borgias, Camelot, The Killing, The Kennedys, and, in a few weeks, the one I'm most looking forward to, Game of Thrones on HBO.
Encouragingly, all these big-ticket projects are doing well in the ratings. Well, except for The Kennedys. Sunday's debut drew 1.3 million viewers on the obscure ReelzChannel. (Reelz immediately issued a misleading news release inflating that number to 1.9 million.)
By the third night, the audience had eroded to just over 800,000. I don't think viewers were jumping ship because patriarch Joe Kennedy was portrayed as more ruthless and scheming than Rodrigo Borgia.
I'm convinced the numbers plummeted because Reelz programmed in commercial blocks that were longer and more frequent than the scenes from the docudrama.
I got carpal tunnel syndrome from mashing down the fast-forward button.
Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or email@example.com. Read his pop-culture blog at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/ dave_on_demand.