Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,180 covers and 55,278 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Who Is Performing a Surprise Duet at the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards?
- The Style Top 5: Amal Clooney Brings Her Glam Street Style to NYC, Iggy Azalea Gets Candid About Her Body and More
- Khloé Kardashian and French Montana Show Sweet PDA in Miami
- Dolly Parton Shares Her Secrets to Her Happy Marriage
- Justin Timberlake to Jessica Biel: 'I Can't Wait to See Our Greatest Creation Yet'
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- January 20, 1992
- Vol. 37
- No. 2
Yesterday and Today
In 40 Years, the Show's Women Have Left Behind Apes and Odious "Girlhood"
In fact, it didn't all start with a barrel of primates—the show's chimps, J. Fred Muggs and his successor, Mr. Kokomo, came later—but sometimes it seemed that way. On Jan. 14, 1952, with peacock feathers trembling, NBC brought television to the American breakfast table with the Today show. Now the network is celebrating the program's 40th anniversary with, naturally, a special, Today at 40, at 10 P.M., Tues., Jan. 14. Women of today's Today and yesterday's—including Barbara Walters and Jane Pauley, current coanchor Katie Couric, plus Torn Brokaw, Gene Shalit, Bryant Gumbel and Willard Scott, among others—will be on hand, even if the ill-starred Deborah Norville (who wasn't invited) will not. Their prominence is in sharp counterpoint to the predominantly frilly "Today girl" image of the '50s and early '60s, the era of Parsons, Palmer, Henderson and several others, including Lee Meriwether and Helen O'Connell.
Walters, who joined the show as a writer in 1961 and became an on-air regular in 1964, made the biggest breakthrough in 1974 when she became Today's first woman coanchor. "When Frank McGee died," she remembers, "they began to look for someone, and we said, 'Oh, by the way, it's in Barbara's contract that she become a cohost if Frank ever left the show.' They said, 'What! What!' They never expected it." Pauley, then only 25, followed Walters in 1976 and became America's new morning glory. In her 13-year tenure Pauley learned the hard way that cohost Bryant Gumbel—and youth—had to be served. Enter, in 1990, Deborah Norville, just eight years Jane's junior, fresh-faced, full of enthusiasm, and doomed.
Norville's disastrous 13-month stint—it ended when the network decided not to bring her back from maternity leave—is a painful subject. "There was so much publicity before I was even asked to be coanchor that I actually, for a moment, considered turning the job down," she says. Alas, she didn't. "I'm not bitter," she insists, "but it was the most stressful period I've ever gone through."
The clang of battle subsided with the arrival last April of the personable Couric, 35. "My title is coanchor," she says. "Bryant's title is anchor. But I think it's largely a question of semantics. Viewers want to see equality between us and don't want to have a woman there doing all the cooking segments. In fact," she adds, "Bryant does more of them than I do. He's a better cook than I am."
Enjoy the banquet while you can, Katie, because anchors are weighed and anchors are slipped, but the Today show abideth. As Florence Henderson, 57, now a stage and screen veteran, observes, "It seems to me that the show is really the star and will outlast everybody. It's like a great musical. It doesn't matter who you put in it, it still works."
TOBY KAHN in New York City
- Toby Kahn.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!