Fancasting a Morning News Rivalry: The Today Show vs. Good Morning America

Today show anchors

Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty

updated 12/20/2013 AT 10:00 AM ET

originally published 01/02/2014 AT 7:00 AM ET

Morning news is about to become more dramatic than you ever imagined – and you’ll get to watch it all unfold in a new made-for-TV movie.

Lifetime is adapting former New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter s book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, into a television movie.

The book chronicles the fierce rivalry between two flagship morning news programs: ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today. The story focuses on the intrigue surrounding the 2012 ouster of former Today anchor Ann Curry, who left the show when the NBC stalwart began to lose the ratings race to GMA.

With development underway, we can’t help but imagine who will play Matt Lauer – let alone Kathie Lee Gifford, Sam Champion or Al Roker. Check out our humble suggestions, starting with the Today show team:

Ann Curry: Rashida Jones

Today show anchors

Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty
Now that Jones is off of Parks and Recreation, she needs to be back on television – STAT. Plus, as someone who was recently written off of a show, she can probably relate to Curry’s untimely departure from the Today couch. It would be a juicy role for Jones, because Curry is at the center of the drama in Stelter’s book, which was criticized for depicting Lauer too harshly for his role in Curry’s departure.

Matt Lauer: Bruce WillisWhile it’s rare for A-list stars like Willis to play roles in Lifetime movies, he may make an exception to the rule to play Lauer, in what was undoubtedly one of the most tumultuous and challenging times of his career. In the aftermath of Curry’s departure and the show’s ratings slip, Lauer, 55, started making plans to jump ship to ABC last year, when reports surfaced that Ryan Seacrest might possibly replace him on Today. The ABC offer turned into a negotiating tactic for Lauer, though, who ended up signing a new NBC contract for a reported $25 million.

Al Roker: Kenan ThompsonToday’s longtime weatherman Al Roker is the jovial heart of the show and deserves an equally genial actor to play him. SNL star Kenan Thompson could up Roker’s banter and maybe incorporate a few Kenan & Kel catchphrases into the mix.

Savannah Guthrie: Bellamy YoungEven before Ann Curry was ousted from the show, rumors were swirling that Today’s legal analyst Savannah Guthrie would replace her on the anchor couch. That level of intrigue would be nothing for Scandal star Bellamy Young.

Willie Geist: Carson DalyMorning Joe newsman Willie Geist joined the Today show cast as co-host in the wake of Curry’s departure, in the hopes of boosting the show’s sagging ratings. One year later, the ratings are still down, but Geist is no longer the new kid on the couch. In September, Daly joined as the show’s “orange room” anchor/social media reporter. Since Daly fills in for Geist when he’s off, he may as well fill in for him on Lifetime too.

Natalie Morales: Amanda Peet As Today news anchor, Natalie Morales has a certain gravitas along with her quick smile. After seeing Amanda Peet’s work in The Good Wife, we think she would be a great fit for the part.

Hoda Kotb: Nasim PedradOn SNL, Nasim Pedrad played Today host Hoda Kotb as the serious host, opposite Wiig’s boozy version of Kathie Lee. All we want for Christmas is to revive that sketch.

Kathie Lee Gifford: Kristen Wiig When Wiig was on SNL, she did an incredible version of Kathie Lee complete with a bottle of wine as an IV drip and a nose for news. Of course, that news was co-anchor Hoda’s love life and her “imaginary” boyfriend – but we’re dying to see it again.

Fancasting, Take 2:And now, the Good Morning America crew…

George Stephanopolous: Fred ArmisenPortlandia star Fred Armisen has proved again and again that he is capable of doing any accent or impression. We’re confident he would nail political analyst turned GMA anchor George Stephanopolous.

Robin Roberts: Angela BassettWe love Robin Roberts, the GMA anchor who just battled her way back to the show’s set from a cancer diagnosis. We also love Angela Bassett. End of story.

Sam Champion: Pat KiernanWhy not have one New York news legend play another? GMA weatherman Sam Champion is loved by all, as is NY 1 news anchor Pat Kiernan. Since we can’t cast Champion as himself, Kiernan is a great stand-in.

Josh Elliott: Jimmy KimmelBoth Josh Elliott and Jimmy Kimmel share a certain frat boy charm – Elliott started at ESPN and Kimmel was a football prognosticator for Fox NFL Sunday for four years. Plus they have the same haircut. Good enough!

Lara Spencer: Kristen WiigWe are cheating a bit by putting Kristen Wiig on the list twice, but she would also make for an amazing Lara Spencer. Spencer is the lifestyle anchor for Good Morning America who has a goofy side that she is often willing to show off. Wiig could take that goofy side and run with it.

Like us on Facebook for more stories like this!


From Our Partners