Bryant Gumbel, returning to the “Today” show for the first time since his memo criticizing co-workers was leaked, offered no apologies today but said the show’s “family” is intact and still smiling “through some pain.”
Two of the memo’s targets, Willard Scott and Gene Shalit, are on vacation this week. Gumbel was on vacation last week when the memo made the front page of New York Newsday.
Gumbel and co-host Jane Pauley attempted to talk on the air with Scott through a telephone hookup at the end of today’s show, but embarrassingly, the connection was lost and they had to ad-lib through the final minutes.
“A very unusual Monday--in many ways best forgot,” said Gumbel.
The internal memo claimed colleagues suffered from everything from bad taste to bad interviews.
Gumbel referred to the flap as he and Pauley opened the two-hour morning show. He commented on the memo--without directly mentioning it--during a solo appearance about 25 minutes later.
Gumbel first thanked callers for expressions of support, saying “Jane, Willard, Gene and I are very grateful.”
“We do appreciate your concern, and despite what you may have heard or read in recent days, we are together and hopefully we’re going to be with you for many years to come,” said Gumbel.
“Now that may come as sad news for those who have tried to capitalize on our differences, but rest assured, that ‘Today’ family is intact and still smiling, albeit through some pain,” he continued.
“We’ll still be here long after the recent headlines are forgotten. Enough said.”