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Meredith Vieira’s new today: Her own talk show

Meredith Vieira found that she wasn’t ready to give up the spotlight.

“I realized there were things that I missed, like connecting to people, which is very much the Today show and very much The View, ” she said in her backstage office after taping two episodes of NBC’s The Meredith Vieira Show, premiering Monday . “I just hadn’t had enough.”

Jennifer Lopez is her first guest, with Seth Rogen, Jessica Alba and Howie Mandel also scheduled for opening week.

Vieira, 60, hired Everett Bradley, a percussionist for Bruce Springsteen, to lead an all-female band. Her on-air sidekick is Jon Harris, a public relations executive and buddy. “I didn’t want a fake friend,” she said. “I wanted a real friend.”

Vieira’s show is the most heavily anticipated in the syndication market this season, so if it fails, it’s on her.

“If it works, great,” she said. “If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.”

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