Vieira's Game Show with Disney Cartoon Animal

Now it's time for one of those moments known as the Things I Wouldn't Have Done If I Knew I Was Ever Going To Get A Real News Job Again Department. In this case, it's new NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira, who, in a short stretch from her hosting "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" in syndication, hosted this special feature on the DVD for the Disney direct-to-DVD cartoon Lion King 1 1/2. She hosted the cartoon character Timon the Meerkat in "Who Wants to Be King of the Jungle?" There are several obvious reasons for saying yes to this gig. 1. The cash. 2. Being a nice ABC corporate player. 3. But most of all, for the children. (One more pic...)

This "wacky jungle version" of her typical game-show gig -- in which the Meerkat complains that he's just one crummy level above "Grub" on the food-chain -- also raises the question of whether the high priests and grand poobahs of the journalism profession will have trouble tolerating Vieira's attempt to keep the lucrative moonlighting job.

Is "Today" light enough in content that the journalism world can abide the credibility clash of an anchorwoman-slash-game show host? Will questions about her game-show-impaired gravitas draw suggestions that the critics are sexists who don't want women to succeed in the TV news business, in a way similar to the quibbles over Katie Couric?

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