*NBC’s “Today” will try to revive its ratings with a look back to when it first turned the tide against rival “Good Morning America.”
On Dec. 30, former co-hosts Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley will return to co-anchor the morning show. The pair sat at the desk during the 80s, when it found itself second to ABC’s “GMA” in the ratings. Their combination is now credited with putting “Today” back on top eventually, according to Deadline.com.
“Today” superfan Linny Boyette, a Rockefeller Center fixture, hardly missed a single morning in 20 years.
*You saw him outside of the “Today” show window – rain or shine, sleet or snow – just standing there quietly observing the segments, or pointing to the camera as it sweeps a shot of the crowd.
His name was Linny Boyette, a 71-year-old military veteran who was born in England but lived in the Bronx. He woke up every day at 3:30 a.m. to make sure he could secure his front row spot on the plaza by 5:30 a.m., according to NBC. “It makes my day,” he told “Today” in 2010.
However, health problems earlier this year prevented Boyette from attending the show regularly in his final months. Last week, a friend of Boyette’s told the Today crew that he was gravely ill.
Boyette died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack. The show dedicated a segment to him this morning [Oct. 6].
“Our dear friend, Linny, passed away this weekend,” Al Roker tweeted Monday. “He will be missed. Greatest Today fan ever. Our thoughts and prayers with Linny and family.”
Added Matt Lauer: “Peace Linny. And thank you for your gentle kindness.”
“So saddened to hear of Linny’s passing,” former “Today” host Meredith Vieira tweeted late Sunday. “I always loved seeing him every morning on the plaza. He had a wonderful smile and so sweet.”
*Shellie Zimmerman told the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer that she’s unsure of what exactly happened when her estranged husband, George Zimmerman encountered an unarmed Trayvon Martin on the night of February 26, 2012.
“This person that I’m married to that I’m divorcing, I’ve kind of realized now that I don’t know him,” she told Matt Lauer on Thursday. “And I really don’t know what he’s capable of.”
She’s also unsure it was self-defense.
“I’m conflicted on that,” she said. “I believe the evidence, but this revelation in my life has really helped me to take the blinders off.”
Shellie Zimmerman says she doesn’t believe her husband profiled Martin, who was black.
Since the trial, she says her husband treated her like she’s “disposable” and went on a “victory tour” without her.
Earlier this month, the two were involved in an altercation at her central Florida home. Since then, she’s been unable to serve him with divorce papers because she doesn’t know where he is.
*Chris Brown dodged questions about a series of controversial tweets during his appearance on The “Today” Show Friday, insisting he was only on the show for the music.
In between his performances, Matt Lauer tried to ask about the tweets in which he complained about being sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service stemming from the 2009 attack on ex-girlfriend Rihanna. He tweeted at the time: “N**ga done 6 months community service wit police and the Da racist a** crying to the judge that I didn’t do it. F**K the System!”
Brown refused to answer Lauer’s questions about the messages. Smiling, he said, “It’s not my music… I’m just putting out the music right now.”
He went on to assure fans that he wasn’t quitting music when asked about other tweets, in which he stated he wanted to step away from the spotlight because he was “tired of being famous for a mistake he made when he was 18.”
“As far as how I work, I’m just going to continue to work for my fans and make sure they have fun,” he would only say.
He also brushed off questions about his health after reportedly suffering a seizure earlier this month, stating, “I’m good, I just needed some rest.”
Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the parents of Trayvon Martin appear on ‘Good Morning America,’ July 18, 2013.
*Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin made the morning-show rounds today, speaking out for the first time since George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing their unarmed son, Trayvon Martin.
The two were somber and resigned in their appearances on “CBS This Morning,” “Good Morning America” and “Today,” repeatedly expressing their shock at the verdict and indicating that they may be moving forward with a civil suit.
Martin spoke movingly about his son on CBS this morning, opening the interview by saying, “I want America to know that Trayvon was a fun-loving child. He was our child. We miss him dearly. Just to have your child’s life taken away from you like that, it hurts. And it’s a process that will take a long time to start to recovery from.”
Fulton added that she was “stunned” when she heard Zimmerman was not found guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter: “I [thought] that they would see that this was a teenager just trying to get home. This was no burglar. This was somebody’s son that was trying to get home.”
Both agreed that race played a huge factor in the killing. “I think it was obvious that it was a black person, a black young person, that they were looking for,” Fulton told co-host Charlie Rose. “But Trayvon was simply not that person.” Watch below.
Race was more of a focus in Martin and Fulton’s conversation with Matt Lauer on Today. Martin said that if his son had been white, “this would have never happened — so obviously, race played some type of role.”
When co-host Matt Lauer asked if he felt that the legal system had failed her son, Fulton answered yes, “to a certain degree,” adding, “I just didn’t understand. How can you let the killer of an unarmed child go free?”
Trayvon’s parents also discussed the aftermath of the verdict, saying that they hoped all protests would be peaceful — and telling Lauer that while they may someday be able to forgive Zimmerman, “forgiveness is like a healing process. Forgiving takes time.” Watch below.
Martin’s parents said today on “GMA” that they wish the members of the jury had gotten a chance to know more about their son during the trial.
“I wish they really knew Trayvon for who he was and knew that he was a kid,” Martin said. “They didn’t know him as a human being, a very decent human being, a fun-loving kid. He loved kids.
“I just wish they had an opportunity to really know who Trayvon was and to put that in context with what their decision was.” Watch below.
Zimmerman has gone into hiding since the verdict, but in an interview this week with ABC News, his parents, Gladys and Robert Zimmerman Sr., said that if they had the chance, they would tell Trayvon Martin’s parents they are truly sorry about what happened the night their son fatally shot the 17 year old.
When asked by “GMA’s” George Stephanopolous whether he was comforted by the Zimmermans’ apology, Martin called it a “hard and fair question.”
“There’s no winner in this situation,” Martin said. “Obviously, we are devastated more.”
“I just think that all the circumstances surrounding books being written and the mischaracterization of us as parents, I just really don’t feel that it’s real sincere,” he said. “But we continue to pray that we’ll find peace and strength to be forgiving parents.”
Martin and Fulton have started a foundation named after their son and say they hope his death and the trial can serve as a catalyst to bring the country together.