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Meredith Vieira: TV Journalist 37

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CBS gave her a choice: her job and a shorter maternity leave than she wanted, or all the time in the world. So Vieira said so long, 60 Minutes. “I’m sorry to give it up,” she says. “On the other hand, it’s easy, because I’m not going to put my family on a back burner.” Besides, her first child, Ben, 1½, makes her feel soooo good. “When he puts his arms around me, hugs me, there’s just something about it. I do feel I could do anything.” Married to former CBS producer Richard Cohen, Vieira is working on a CBS pilot for a prime-time documentary series, Verdict. Her career path following the expected August arrival of her new baby is uncertain, but she has been through that before. In 1988 her glamour pose in Esquire set off a minor feminist debate. Vieira isn’t apologizing to those who say she set back the women’s movement. “If I had to do it over again?” she asks herself. “People say, ‘Well, you wouldn’t, would ya?’ I say, ‘I know I would.’ ”