Deborah Norville is celebrating her 25th anniversary on “Inside Edition.”
“I’m feeling happy and good with this lovely celebration,” Norville said in a recent interview. “I am proud of where this show is in this landscape. If you look at what’s happening with ratings erosion, flat is the new up. We’re flat and up. We build from our lead-ins. We grow our demo. That’s a good thing. Our advertisers like that. The stations like that. The people at CBS like that.”
“Inside Edition” has for years been an unusual hybrid of regular news shows and entertainment-only shows.
“We don’t pretend we’re telling you everything that happened,” said Norville, 61. “We assume you are generally aware. We give you a few detailed insights or sidebars. We provide stuff that is new and different and fun and uplifting. A big part of the secret sauce is that final story. We want you to feel better about your day.”
Norville said joining “Inside Edition” in 1995 was a godsend for her as a young working mother and journalist because the hours were relatively kind.
“I could drop the kids off at school,” she said. “I couldn’t pick them up but I could get home, cook dinner and put them to bed.” Most of her fellow journalist friends couldn’t do that.
Not that Norville hasn’t been a hard worker. After her daughter and third child was born, she decided to do her show from the maternity ward nine hours later.
And she said she just laughs off all the bad hair and wardrobe choices over the years. “I remember a co-anchor after a particularly hideous telecast in Chicago shrug his shoulder and say, ‘It’s already halfway to Pluto.’ There’s always another day.”
Norville worked in Atlanta from 1979 to 1982. She then worked in Chicago, NBC News in New York and the “Today” show as Jane Pauley’s successor.
But “Inside Edition” will be her legacy. Over the years, she covered the Sept. 11 attacks, did a music video, interviewed Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Michelle Obama and spent five days in a prison for a special report.
The last time I spoke to Norville, in 2014, the Ebola virus was the big story. Now it’s coronavirus.
She said at this stage it’s difficult to report given the void of definitive information. She said she likes the Johns Hopkins website for updated info as opposed to the CDC, which “is not up to par. It’s dispiriting to see.” She also likes the WHO site.
Last year, Norville made headlines when she had surgery to remove a thyroid gland in her neck as a precaution against cancer.
About 20 years ago, a viewer noticed Norville had a bump in her neck so she ended up getting it checked regularly. It had been benign for two decades. But she finally had an issue last year and decided to tell the world about her surgery — in part because otherwise, her absence would fuel speculation she had plastic surgery, she said.
“I am so glad that I was vain enough to think better and tell people,” Norville said. “I have heard so many people who are now paying attention to lumps on their necks who had been previously ignoring.”