NEW YORK – The glory days returned for the “Today” show – for one day at least – as NBC’s morning show brought back Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley for a one-day nostalgia turn as co-hosts on Monday.
Gumbel and Pauley, who worked together on “Today” from 1982 to 1989, joined birthday boy Matt Lauer on the set. It wasn’t ceremonial: with Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales off, Gumbel and Pauley had to work.
“Getting up was a little difficult and the studio has changed enormously,” Gumbel said. Pauley said the fast pace makes the experience go “like a bat out of heck.”
NBC hoped the trio’s easy camaraderie enticed viewers. After a well-publicized tumble last year, the show runs second in the ratings to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Pauley, who does occasional reports for the show, left as host in 1989 while Gumbel gave way to Lauer in 1997.
There were a few film clips of Pauley back in the big hair days. “I understand Gene Shalit’s standing by to review ‘Back to the Future,”’ Al Roker quipped during a weather segment.
Gumbel and Pauley easily navigated a cooking segment (poached salmon and pasta). That was like old times, but the segment on what is trending on Twitter wasn’t.
Not everyone’s memory was clear. A sign held up by a fan outside the studio misspelled Gumbel’s name.