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`Today' expands to a fourth hour

January 18, 2007|Maria Elena Fernandez

Love the "Today" show? You're about to love it more. At least, that's what NBC is hoping for next fall when the top-rated morning show expands to a fourth hour.

Questions remain about who will lead the hour to be added on at the tail end of the show. By contract, Meredith Vieira, who co-hosts the show along with Matt Lauer, is barred from appearing on NBC's air when episodes of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" -- which she also heads up -- is on in some markets during that hour.

Steve Capus, NBC president of news, said the network would make final hosting decisions by September.

Lauer admitted he initially had "mixed emotions" about the extra hour and worried about the toll it would take on the crew, but now thinks it makes sense.

"You don't want to dilute the brand," Lauer said. "You want people to want more, not less.... As long as we do the kinds of segments we'd be proud of, regardless of the time we air it, I just don't want to be asked to leave the party before I'm ready to go."

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-- Maria Elena Fernandez

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