June 09, 2011 02:37:28 GMT
'All of you I will put in my heart,' said the host who was surprised with a musical tribute by her fellow anchors as well as the show's producers and staff.
On Wednesday, June 8, Meredith Vieira has said her last "good morning" on "Today". Wearing a green dress, she sat down on a couch with other hosts as a montage from her past interviews was played. The likes of Jack Black and Jay Leno were featured at the end of the footage, sending messages to the anchor.
Meredith was more tearful when one of her favorite artists, Carole King, came to perform "You've Got a Friend". The musical tribute continued with her and Matt Lauer, clad in an orange T-shirt, sitting in front of a piano as Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' " began to play.
She was then picked up by Ann Curry who led her downstairs, where she was surprised by a hug from special guest Abe Vigoda. Meredith continued the sprint with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, who passed her to Al.
Outside the building, a group of producers and staffers were waiting her on the street, with Jimmy Fallon standing there to play his guitar. The "Today" staff later broke out a choreographed dance number. "All of you I will put in my heart," said overwhelmed Meredith.
After the musical number, Meredith and the other hosts sat on small stage set on the street as Matt, Ann, Al and Natalie Morales expressed their compliments for her. "You have changed my life. You have changed all of these people's lives. And we will always, always hold a spot in our hearts. You are the best. I love you," Al said.
Ann added, "Thank you for reminding us to live our values ... We love you so much." Matt gave a heartfelt commentary, saying "If I tell you how I feel, I'm afraid I'm going to turn into a blubbering idiot. But it's your last day... I adore you... The bottom line is I have marveled over the fact that with someone who's got talent as large as yours, how small your ego is."
"I don't want to go now," Meredith tried to crack some a joke despite tears in her eyes, but then explained, "I think life is about changing; I guess one door closes and another opens. You are the best. It's such a family and it's really hard to leave a family, so I'm not going to say goodbye at all."