Deborah Norville

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Deborah Norville
Norville at the Metropolitan Opera opening in 2008.
Born Deborah Anne Norville
(1958-08-08) August 8, 1958 (age 56)
Dalton, Georgia, United States
Alma mater University of Georgia (B.A., Journalism, 1979) [1]
Occupation Television journalist
Years active 1987–present
Notable credit(s) Today
Inside Edition
New Way RA
Spouse(s) Karl Wellner (1987-present)

Deborah Anne Norville (born August 8, 1958) is an American television anchor and journalist. Since 1995 she has been host of the syndicated American television program Inside Edition. She earlier hosted Today on NBC, substitute-anchored both the NBC Nightly News and the weekend CBS Evening News, and was a host and correspondent for two CBS News magazine programs.

She has received two Emmy Awards for her television work, the first while at NBC News for coverage of a democratic uprising in Romania, and the second for work on CBS's 48 Hours covering floods on the Mississippi River.[2]

Early life[edit]

Norville was born in Dalton, Georgia on August 8, 1958 to mother Merle Olson Norville and father Zachary Samuel Norville.[3] She graduated from the University of Georgia in Athens with a degree in journalism in 1979.[1]


NBC years[edit]

In 1987, Norville, then age 28, was named anchor of NBC News at Sunrise, the network's early morning newscast, which aired just prior to the Today program. Norville joined “Sunrise” in January 1987, and at the time was the only woman to solo a daily national newscast. Her schedule required her to leave for the studio at 2:30a.m. and sometimes work until 6:30p. When she departed in 1989, “Sunrise” was the top-rated early morning newscast in the country. However, her move to the “Today” show last fall set off a cacophony of clamorous press reports. Many observers felt some of the coverage was unfair and shallow, focusing improperly on Norville’s beauty-queen good looks, and trumping up on a non-existent spat between her and Pauley. Norville branded much of the reporting as “sexist” saying the change would not have drawn so much attention if she were a man. [4]Throughout the late 1980s she was seen on Today as a regular substitute for host Bryant Gumbel, co-host Jane Pauley, or news anchor John Palmer.

On September 5, 1989, Norville replaced Palmer at the Today newsdesk and he assumed her previous role on Sunrise. She also began substituting for Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News. Shortly after Norville's appointment as Today's news anchor, the decision was made to feature Norville as an unofficial third host. Whereas Palmer had read the news from a desk separate from where Gumbel and Pauley sat, Norville was seated alongside the program's hosts at the opening and closing of every show.

As co-host of Today[edit]

On October 27, 1989, Jane Pauley announced after thirteen years on Today that she would be leaving the program at the end of the year to pursue a prime time news assignment—which would debut on July 17, 1990 as Real Life with Jane Pauley. NBC announced that Norville would become co-host. In January 1990, the new anchor team of Bryant Gumbel and Deborah Norville, minus Pauley, debuted with disastrous results. Ratings for the program began to plummet. Critics felt that Gumbel and Norville lacked chemistry and many loyal viewers began turning to rival ABC's Good Morning America.

By June 1990, NBC announced that Joe Garagiola, former Major League Baseball player and Today contributor from 1967–1973, would join Norville as a second co-host alongside Bryant Gumbel. Also, CBS newswoman Faith Daniels would become the program's news anchor—a position which was still unfilled since Norville became co-host. Finally, Katie Couric assumed the role of National Correspondent. Garagiola, Daniels and Couric were added to the show during the June 11, 1990 broadcast.

Ratings continued to decline and by the end of 1990, Today, the longtime dominant morning news/talk program, was in second place behind GMA. By the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991, Norville's role as co-host was gradually minimized. Today aired special editions of the program called America at War, with Gumbel anchoring most of the show alone. Norville left the show for maternity leave in February 1991. It was announced that Katie Couric would substitute as co-host during Norville's absence. Ratings for the program began to rise. By April 1991, it was announced that Norville would not return to Today and that Couric had been named the program's co-host. Norville, it was disclosed, would continue to be paid in accordance with her contract, although she would no longer appear on any NBC News programs.


Sally Jessy Raphael had asked to be released from her contract with the ABC Radio Network in late 1991. Deborah Norville was hired to replace her with a radio show called Deborah Norville - From Her Home To Yours, which launched in September 1992. The program was cancelled after one year.

Return to television[edit]

In late 1993, Norville was hired by CBS News as a correspondent for Street Stories, a prime time newsmagazine hosted by CBS veteran Ed Bradley. Norville was later tapped to anchor Sunday editions of the CBS Evening News on a rotating basis and also substitute anchored on the weeknight edition of that program. By the summer of 1994, Street Stories had been cancelled and CBS introduced a summer newsmagazine series called America Tonight co-anchored by Norville and newswoman Dana King.

In 1995, Norville, still a news correspondent for CBS, was hired to replace Bill O'Reilly, later of Fox News Channel, as the host of the popular syndicated news and entertainment program Inside Edition, a position she still holds today.

In 2004, MSNBC announced that Norville would anchor a prime time interview program on that network while remaining at Inside Edition. An arrangement was orchestrated in which Norville was prevented from appearing as an anchor for NBC News—of which MSNBC is a division—so as not to confuse viewers who identified her with Inside Edition. As a result, if breaking news had developed either during the course of her show or earlier in the day, she was unable to cover the story by speaking with NBC correspondents unless they were featured as guests on the program.[citation needed]

Norville conducted some high profile interviews on the show—including one with her successor on Today, Katie Couric—and also addressed some controversial topics including the debate revolving around Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and Mormon polygamy. During one of the broadcasts on the Passion controversy, Norville disclosed on the air that she was a born-again Christian, having accepted Christ as her savior at age 15. Though Norville's religious identity had been reported previously, it was the first time she had ever made such an announcement on live television. By February 2005, Norville announced she would leave MSNBC while continuing to anchor the syndicated Inside Edition.[citation needed]

On November 14, 2008, Deborah Norville was on the Fox game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Norville was eliminated at the $100,000 level, stating, "I may be an Emmy Award winning journalist, and a best selling author, but I am not smarter than a 5th grader."[citation needed]

On April 19 and April 20, 2011, she filled in for Nancy Grace on the latter's HLN program.[5][6]

In 2014, Norville appeared in paid programming television commercials for Derm Exclusive featuring Dr. Andrew Ordon, a board-certified plastic surgeon and host of television’s The Doctors.[7]

On June 11, 2015, she was announced as the new host of "Knit & Crochet Now TV",[8] a web-based television program aimed at yarn crafters and affiliated with the online yarn and pattern shop Annie's Catalog.


In 2001, Norville recorded and released an original song titled "Keep On Moving". The track's lyrics were inspired by her ouster as a co-host on The Today Show.[9][10]

Personal life[edit]

During her college years at the University of Georgia, Norville was a member of Delta Delta Delta Women's Fraternity, Alpha Rho Chapter.

Norville married Swedish businessman Karl Wellner in 1987;[3] the couple have three children, Niki, Kyle, and Mikaela.[11] She also has created a line of craft yarns.

Published work[edit]

Published works include:[12]

  • The Way We Are: Heroes, Scoundrels, and Oddballs from 25 Years of Inside Edition, 2013 written with Charlie Carillo and a foreword by Donald Trump
  • Thank You Power : Making the Science of Gratitude Work for You, 2007
  • The Power of Respect: Benefit from the Most Forgotten Element of Success, 2009
  • Knit with Deborah Norville, 2009
  • Back on Track: How to Straighten Out Your Life When It Throws You a Curve, 1997
  • She has also written two children's books, I Don't Want to Sleep Tonight (Golden Books, 1999) and I Can Fly (Golden Books, 2001).


  1. ^ a b Deborah Norville at the Notable Names Database
  2. ^ "James Brady On Media: Norville Says 'Thanks'" (PDF). Forbes. October 4, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Staff(s) (December 13, 1987). "Deborah A. Norville Weds Karl G. Wellner". The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ Larry Dendy (Winter 1990). "Deborah Norville". Georgia Alumni Record. 
  5. ^ " - Transcripts". 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2015-02-22. 
  6. ^ " - Transcripts". 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2015-02-22. 
  7. ^ "Derm Exclusive Review". 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2015-02-22. 
  8. ^ "Knit & Crochet Now TV". 2015-06-12. 
  9. ^ "The Making of Deborah's Song "Keep On Movin"". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  10. ^ "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.(Everyday Magazine)(People In The News Column) | HighBeam Business: Arrive Prepared". 2001-05-28. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  11. ^ "New Georgia Encyclopedia: Deborah Norville (b. 1958)". Retrieved 2015-02-22. 
  12. ^ "Deborah Norville - Book Search - Barnes &". Retrieved 2015-02-22. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
John Palmer
Today Show News Anchor
July 14-December 29, 1989
Succeeded by
Faith Daniels
Preceded by
Jane Pauley
Host of The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel
January 3, 1990–April 4, 1991
Succeeded by
Katie Couric