Despite a jet-lagged Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, NBC's Today began working overtime Monday, expanding to a third hour for the first time in the show's 49-year history.
The extra hour strongly resembled the second, with a national news update at the beginning and a generally softer mix of stories: an interview with Elizabeth Hurley, Couric being tested for a segment on osteoporosis, a feature about movies shown in Baltimore's Little Italy and a report on a 19-year-old killed aboard a Southwest Airlines flight. It also included a discussion about jet lag.
NBC promised a bigger role for news reader Ann Curry and weatherman Al Roker in the third hour. But Couric and Lauer were at the helm Monday, even after spending much of the weekend flying back from Sydney, Australia, where the show was based for three weeks during the Olympics.
Couric showed signs of fatigue, mispronouncing "jet lag" as "jet lab."
"Truth be told, this wouldn't be the day we'd choose to go to three hours," Lauer said.
Also premiering Monday was Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, a syndicated talk show with Cybill Shepherd as host. Locally, the show airs at 10 a.m. on WFTS-Ch. 28. The first episode featured experts talking about how fights between men and women should be constructive.
"They couldn't seem to make up their mind whether they wanted to be a panel discussion or a traditional talk show," said Garnett Losak, an expert on syndicated television for Petry Media Corp.
_ Times wires