Meredith Vieira Leaves TODAY: ‘I Know It’s Right, But It’s Hard’

In a morning filled with tributes to departing TODAY‘s Meredith Vieira, the NBC morning show’s co-host told Matt Lauer she had no second thoughts about walking away from television’s dominant morning news program. “I know it’s right, but it’s hard.” In keeping with the show’s format, the morning was packed with surprises for Vieira, which she was clearly expecting.

Vieira, 57, announced on May 9 that she would be leaving TODAY to spend more time with her husband, Richard, and their children. Richard and Meredith’s dog Jasper both accompanied Vieira on her last day on set Wednesday. At the top of the show, Lauer joked about surprises in store through the morning. Kathie Lee Gifford, by comparison, jokingly expressed frustration that the farewell had dragged on. “It seems like we’ve been saying goodbye to Meredith forever,’’ Kathie Lee cracked. “When is the woman leaving?” Later she added, “none of us are happy about it. We’re broken-hearted.’’

Here’s how the show opened on Vieira’s last morning, from NBC:

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