Meredith Vieira has been a fixture on American television for decades. She is one of the few broadcasters, and even fewer women, to have been part of all three major networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC, for a number of years, and still be on friendly terms with the many associates through her history. It would be a solid bet to say that Meredith Vieira wasn't looking for full-time responsibilities when Hoda Kotb welcomed her lovely second adopted daughter into the world two weeks ago.

Nonetheless, the news business teaches anyone who dares that duty at a moment’s notice is a condition of employment. Naturally, therefore, up steps Meredith Vieira to take the seat next to Jenna Bush Hager on “Today,” even with Hager only two weeks into her co-hosting of the fourth-hour.

Vieira always says that it seems like she never left anytime she returns to NBC, but this morning, April 29, had a surprise for the television veteran that she was not expecting.

As fate would have it, the moment came for Meredith to get very casual on the “Today” set, right down to her favorite bathrobe. Jenna Bush Hager challenged her broadcasting partner to put on pajamas and go to the supermarket, so later this week viewers may see Meredith Vieira on Aisle 6.

Under the weather

The chatter started out with happy news of Meredith’s visit to Hoda Kotb. She didn't want to wake baby Hope Catherine from a sound sleep and had to make a quiet departure after inadvertently imposing on big sister Haley Joy’s siesta, too.

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The conversation on comfy attire initially was prompted by Meredith Vieira’s confession of having a slight but nonetheless nagging cough. Being the compassionate co-worker that she is, Jenna Bush Hager revived the conversation about her favorite remedy that she first shared with Hoda back in January.

Hager recommended the Starbucks off-menu medicinal treat of the Medicine Ball, which was added permanently to many of the coffee giant’s menus back in 2017, due to high customer demand.

Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb have since endorsed the beverage, which can be ordered as a custom Honey Citrus Mint Tea. The concoction relies on hot-steamed lemonade, honey, and a mix of mint tea and citrus tranquility tea to bring its beneficial effects. Many musicians swear by the drink’s healing properties, and someone was sent in haste to bring one to Meredith Vieira.

In the meantime, Meredith related how she had reached the age and attained the self-reflection to no longer care about her neighbors seeing her in her bathrobe and pajamas putting out the trash. Jenna Bush Hager couldn’t just leave that wide-open lane alone, so she asked if Meredith had ever gone to the supermarket in her pajamas.

“No, I haven't,” the veteran of journalism responded, “but I might.”

The fruits of the wager

Jenna Bush Hager could not resist jumping off the deep end of this bet, “Will you go to the market tomorrow in your pajamas?” pleaded the partner. “Well, I don't need to go to the market tomorrow,” Vieira stalled. “OK, this week then,” Jenna insisted.

There's no wiggle room now. Meredith Vieira has virtually committed herself to a bodega run in her favorite PJ’s.

Hager went on to describe the festive, Santa Claus-like robe that Meredith Vieira wears in the early morning hours backstage. Jerry, who is most known for being Johnny-on-the-spot in sending down the tissue box at precisely the crucial moment, came out modeling the classic piece in red with white polka dots before helping Vieira into its cozy comfort. No one snatched it from the closet in the interim of her absence.

Meredith Vieira did not seem so sold on the instant effects of the Medicine Ball, but she admitted that the thickness did lessen the sting in the back of her throat.

Already, the woman who went from local news to “Dateline” and “60 Minutes” before taking on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “The View” is letting loose in a whole new way while filling in on the “Today” fourth hour. Who knows what Meredith Viera will bet on, or be wearing, next. She may choose the robe that took her through her first pregnancy, in blue with little cowboys all over.

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