The behind-the-scenes soap opera at NBC that began with last winter’s Deborah Norville-Jane Pauley brouhaha is providing a full season’s worth of twists and cliff-hangers these days. With the network’s daytime news and entertainment lineup due for a major overhaul, here’s a guide to the current movers and shakers, as well as those being moved and shaken — all of whom are women.
Faith Daniels: After just six months as NBC News’ rising star, Daniels, the latest in a line of female up-and-comers that includes Mary Alice Williams and Maria Shriver, is getting her own weekday series. A half-hour noon newscast tentatively called A Closer Look will begin Jan. 28. It will replace Generations, NBC’s low-rated soap, and the only one to feature a mostly black cast. For now, NBC says Daniels will continue to anchor NBC News at Sunrise and serve as the newsreader for Today as well.
Katherine Couric: Today’s national correspondent is highly regarded at NBC. Few would be surprised if she took over Daniels’ Today duties next spring, thus moving one step closer to the seat currently occupied by…
Deborah Norville: Ratings for the Today show have plummeted since her debut in January; she may have been unfairly victimized by all those you-stole-Jane’s-job stories, but with millions in breakfast-time ad revenues at stake, NBC is unlikely to remain sympathetic.
Marsha Warfield: A goner. According to sources, the Night Court comedienne’s daytime talk show is on NBC’s hit list, and will soon disappear — along with the lineup of low-rated morning game shows.
Linda Ellerbee: Forget the silly coffee commercials and the history of high-quality flops; the news vet is tanned, rested, and in contention to join the daytime schedule with Women’s Diaries, a half-hour interview/profile series. Her show is one of several that could fill a planned two-hour infotainment slot that includes A.M. Assignment, a news show staffed solely by female journalists.