Meredith Vieira, who kicks off her ninth season of the syndicated weekday version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ on September 13, is making no predictions as to where she’ll be next year at this time.
Her contracts with both ‘Millionaire’ and ‘Today’ are in their final year, and as the charming, erudite Vieira puts it, ‘I can’t imagine how I will feel in a year. I’m not there yet. I never look ahead, but, much as I love my work, a part of me looks at how hard I’ve worked and realizes I’d like to spend more time at home.’
Her son Ben is a senior in college, son Gabriel ,19 ,is in his sophomore year in a university and 17-year-old daughter Lily is a senior in high school and Meredith feels that ‘Next year when the kids are all gone from home, I’d love to be able to be more flexible with my time .. I work two kinds of crazy jobs now with lot of tension and the fact is I actually like solitude — and sitting alone with my husband enjoying a bottle of wine isn’t all that bad.’ She’d also like to spend more time doing another of her favorite things: exercising.
Says Meredith,’ I love running, racing, anything outside. I was training for the New York marathon. but tore my hamstring and just hope I’ll be in shape to run the race in November.’
Her legs are currently getting a test as she tapes the new season of ‘Millionaire’ that, among its many changes, calls for an end of the legendary Hot Seat, with Meredith and contestants standing for the length of the program. She is gung-ho about the new format. ‘I can interact with the contestants more when we’re standing. I know like being able to move around the stage.’ The fact she tapes five shows a day — 15 shows a week — might lead some to assume the new format is a physical grind for her, but she says, ‘I could also find a seat if I were tired, but it hasn’t been happening.’