More than 13 years ago, morning infotainment ratings leader Today aired Katie Couric’s Celebrity Colonoscopy and changed how many Americans viewed that screening. Tomorrow, Matt Lauer and Al Roker will get prostate exams live, on the air, on the now-ratings-hungry morning show. When Today made a star of Couric’s colon in March 2000, nearly 6.7 million viewers tuned in to watch that day. To put that in perspective, it’s about how many viewers tuned in to Today for updates the morning after President Obama successfully pulled off the taking down of Osama bin Laden. Hoping to re-create the ratings magic, Lauer and Roker will get their prostates checked out, live, by a doctor and discuss the importance of prostate screening for men over 40.
When she left the show in June 2006, Couric said on her final broadcast that undergoing the first televised colonoscopy was her proudest accomplishment.
Couric’s husband Jay Monahan died of colon cancer in 1998, while in his early 40s, prompting Katie to undergo the screening before a national audience; gastroenterologists across the country credited Couric for the increased awareness and unprecedented number of colonoscopy screenings that took place in the wake of her TV stunt. That includes poor Roker, who also underwent a Today colonoscopy four years after Katie’s first, and now, he’s getting his prostate checked on national TV. Guy needs a new agent.