Billy’s Blog: Thoughts On Katie (June 1, 2006)

A word about Katie Couric…no matter what happens in the next chapter of her career, her place in the TV Hall of Legends is secure.

She helped me without me knowing she did. Back when I started at NBC (local WNBC in New York and then East Coast Access Correspondent) she put me in my place and thankfully it was before real damage was done.

I fell into my groove at Access pretty quickly - people in power thought I was fresh, funny, different - so as is done with all new talent, I got going on the “Today” show. My first piece was very funny as I tried to immerse myself into Lou Pearlman’s latest boy band invention, a group called “Natural”. Soon, they had me doing all kinds of ridiculous pieces (scouring NYC for a wedding gift for Liza and David, milling amongst Elvis impersonators in Memphis, sitting on Santa’s lap at Macy’s, etc.)…truth be told, I was uncomfortable doing a lot of it - felt forced and “too much”, but quickly understood how lucky I was to be anywhere near that set.

I came off…well, exactly how I felt - “forced” amongst other things. I stopped doing regular “Today” show stuff…

Later, I found out through back channels that Katie had expressed her opinion on me and it was…well, “forced”? I don’t know, but here’s what I do know:

She saved my hide. She was right…I was not ready and I knew it better than most. The good news is I went on to co-anchor this outstanding show and contribute to “Today” for fun. Point: Katie’s criticism proved very constructive.

Since then, we’ve done a bunch of shoots together, had countless laughs and grown a true affection for one another.

I will miss her on “Today,” I thank her for helping me, and her legs are as outstanding now as the day she started…sorry, I digressed!

Good luck to you Katie!

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