The Today Show (officially called Today) is currently, a long-running morning news show airing on the NBC television network in the United States. It first aired on January 14, 1952 at 8:00 A.M. (Eastern Time/Pacific Time) as a half-hour news and information show. It became a one-hour news show on July 7, 1952 (airing from 8 to 9 A.M. Eastern Time/Pacific Time), and later, on January 5, 1953, NBC expanded it to two hours (7-9 A.M. Eastern Time/Pacific Time). For many years it was a two-hour program from seven to nine ET, until NBC expanded it to three hours (7-10 A.M. Eastern Time/Pacific Time; 6-9 A.M. Central Time/Mountain Time) on October 2, 2000.
Today was the first of its genre when it first signed on with host Dave Garroway. The show successfully blends national news headlines, in-depth interviews with newsmakers, lifestyle features, other light news and gimmicks (including the presence of the chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs as the show's mascot during the early years), and local news updates. It has spawned several other shows of a similar type, including ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's The Early Show, and the Canadian series, Canada AM.
The show is filmed and produced at studio 1A in Rockefeller Center, New York, just across the street from NBC headquarters at the GE Building. The studio is located right next to the street and many times the hosts do the weather or other events from outside.
Today was the brainchild of Pat Weaver, who was then vice-president of NBC. Later, he became president of the company from 1953 to 1955, and then served as chairman of the board for another year.
The show is currently hosted by Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. Al Roker does weather updates and Ann Curry reads news headlines. Gene Shalit is the entertainment critic.
Previous hosts have included Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley, Deborah Norville, Tom Brokaw, Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs, and Flyod Kalber. Popular former weathercaster Willard Scott still appears on the show daily doing the 100th birthday announcements he first became famous for in the 1980s. The birthday announcements are sponsored by Smuckers.