People Staff
April 06, 2006 11:25 AM

It’s official: Meredith Vieira will replace Katie Couric on the Today show, Vieira announced Thursday on The View.

“I’ve spent nine wonderful years on this show,” said Vieria, who got teary making the announcement. “If you’re going to grow, you have to change. I’m very honored that NBC has asked me to cohost the Today show. I’m thrilled, I’m really thrilled.”

Vieira, 52, has been one of the cohosts of The View since its debut in 1997. She also hosts Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

On Wednesday, Couric announced that she was leaving the Today show next month to join CBS news. She’ll become anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News in September, and will contribute to 60 Minutes. Vieira is a former 60 Minutes correspondent.

“We have had the most wonderful nine years with you and we love you very much,” Barbara Walters said to Vieria on Thursday.

Another View cohost, Joy Behar, told her, “I’m miserable that you are leaving.”

Vieira is expected to join Matt Lauer on Today in September. Her reported salary has been estimated at $10 million a year.

“I have been her fan for years and I can’t wait to be her partner,” Lauer said Thursday. “She has the perfect background and personality to make a real mark on this show and in morning news in general. I’m thrilled to welcome her aboard.”

Before joining The View, Vieria spent nearly 20 years as a news correspondent, much of that time at CBS News. Over her career, she has won eight Emmy awards.

She is married to fellow journalist Richard Cohen, who suffers from multiple sclerosis – which Vieria has often spoken about publicly. (In 2004 Cohen wrote a book, Blindsided, about his battle with MS, as well as with colon cancer.) The couple have three children, Lily, 13, Gabriel, 14, and Benjamin, 17.

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