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Today in Possibly-True TV Stories: Vieira, 30 Rock Departing?

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We’re suddenly up to our armpits in stories of TV stars possibly, reportedly, according to insiders, leaning toward leaving their jobs. First, there was Katie Couric. Then yesterday came a report that Meredith Vieira is favoring leaving the Today Show later in the year when her contract runs out. And now we have Alec Baldwin telling Vulture that next season will be 30 Rock’s last.

I’m loath to post on these reports at all. I tend to treat this kind of news like deaths on 24: I need to see a wound to the head, and preferably a burned body, before I believe it.

Katie Couric will, someday, not be CBS’ anchor. Vieira will, someday, not host Today. 30 Rock will, someday, go off the air. But I don’t consider any a done deal until they’re done deals—that goes double for anyone’s claim, more than a year in advance, that a certain show is ending. The Sopranos and other shows taught us how these deadlines can move. Alec Baldwin? Well, let’s just say, he’s an excellent actor, and … he says stuff sometimes.

[By the way, I don’t mean to suggest that the stories I linked to are wrong. I believe that Baldwin said what he said. I believe that the New York Times’ sources said what they said about Vieira—that she is “leaning toward” leaving. But I also think that actors speculate about decisions that are not theirs to make, that people change their minds about big decisions, and yet there’s a lot of buzz and online linkage to be gained by running with stories that say, correctly insofar as it goes, that something big might happen—which then gets widely passed around as confirmation that it will happen.]

But the chatter is out there, and it stays out there because it’s fun to talk about. There’s already fanciful talk that Couric could go back to her old job at Today, replacing Vieira (though in reality she’s said to be considering a talk show). Between that, Jay Leno re-taking Tonight and Paul Reiser[!] getting a sitcom again, it would be like NBC entered a time warp. Or like, as more than one Twitter reader suggested to me, NBC really did follow Jack Donaghy’s words and “make it 1997 again, by science or magic.”

So I thought I should at least give anyone who wants to the chance to discuss and dream up replacements. And while we’re at it, who would you like to see “reportedly consider” leaving their job next?