Only In New York: Things that go bump on breakfast television

SPOOKY AUTHOR Stephen King (pictured far right) appeared on NBC's news programme Today yesterday (it being the morning after Hallowe'en). It was a distressing sight.

King is still on crutches and is shockingly thin after his brush with death in June, when he was struck by a van while taking a walk in his native Maine. King is as prolific a novelist as you will ever meet, and his 53 books have sold no fewer than 300 million copies over the years. His injuries, however, have apparently plugged his fountain of words. "After the accident, I was totally incapable of writing," he told co-presenter Katie Couric. "It was as if I'd never done this in my life. It was like starting over again from square one. I mean it was like being 12, 13 years old."

He ended by confessing that he may never be able to write a novel again. Still, the 52-year-old King will barely suffer from a financial standpoint - the books that already cram bookshop shelves reportedly bring him an annual income of $40m.

u

NEW YORK City has become the battleground of the breakfast shows. The lucrative two hours in the early morning - when Americans manage to bake their fresh muffins, squeeze their oranges, pack the children's lunchboxes and watch television at the same time - have for years been dominated by Today with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. You may have seen them, if not from a hotel room then through the plate glass that separates their studio from the pavement in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center.

Putting Matt and Katie where passing tourists can see them is the genius behind Today. Or that is the conclusion reached by ABC and CBS. So this summer ABC opened a glitzy showcase of its own in Times Square. And yesterday, straggling in third place in the breakfast ratings, CBS unveiled its new- look show from a $20m studio in the General Motors Building in Trump Plaza. That puts it right across from the Plaza Hotel. So, at last, all the shows are on an even pavement. May the hostilities begin.

Someone at CBS, however, is surely going to be fired. To ensure maximum excitement for the inaugural show - co-hosted by Bryant Gumbel, an alumnus of Today at NBC - the network had booked rock star Mariah Carey (pictured left) to sing a song from her new album, Rainbow. And she was to do it right there, on the pavement. (Hysteria of the masses was guaranteed.) On Friday, however, the network discovered it had failed to get the necessary street-performance permits from the city. Not only did Carey cancel - she apparently saw no point in exercising her lungs indoors - she decided to take the gig to another of the networks. Yes, yesterday morning she was the guest instead of Katie and Matt.

u

DID I mention Trump? For the next few months, we will have no let-up from The Donald, as the tabloids like to call him, what with his putative quest for the US presidency. So far, he has got no further than setting up the obligatory "exploratory committee", but a couple of weeks ago he gave up membership of the Republican Party and announced his interest in being the Reform Party nominee.

But according to a Daily News poll, even New Yorkers are unimpressed. Only six per cent said they thought it likely that Trump would get their tick on ballot day. Meanwhile, 74 per cent said they thought he was only entering the fray as an exercise in self-publicity.

Somebody must have let on that Trump has a new book coming out. All indignation, Trump declared himself unconcerned. Asked for a reaction, he told a News reporter, "OK, go have fun with it." He then hung up, but not before he charmingly called the reporter a "scumbag".

u

ACCORDING TO Tim and Nina Zagat, who for 21 years have been publishing annual surveys on the best and worst of New York's eateries, sexism is alive and well. Four out of five New Yorkers think that men get better treatment in restaurants than women.

Could I suggest a new category to the Zagats for next year's survey: which restaurants in New York boast the most pretentious menus? In Heartbeat on 49th St, I spotted this dish: "Chilean sea bass with heirloom potatoes." I asked the maitre d' to explain. An heirloom potato, he said, is a potato that has not been genetically modified.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935