MILFORD MILL, Md. As the media descended on the 7-Eleven on a busy thoroughfare in Baltimore County Saturday morning, envious Mega Millions players had two questions: Who won, and why wasn’t it me? Nyeri Murphy, holding two scratch-off tickets, said she normally plays Powerball. But she drove to neighboring Harford County to buy $70 worth of Mega Millions tickets this week. “I should have bought them here,” she said. TV cameras, reporters and photographers roamed inside and out of the convenience store, less than a mile from Interstate 695. At 7:15 p.m. Friday, someone bought a single Mega Millions ticket there. Lottery officials say that ticket is one of three winning tickets purchased for the record-breaking $640 million prize. The other two were sold in Illinois and Kansas. The harried manager of the 7-Eleven could only repeatedly say “no interviews” to the reporters pressing for details. Customers who pushed through the media crush for their morning coffee, however, were eager to talk. Some had purchased tickets for the next Mega Millions drawing, a measly $12 million, at the machine that produced the winning ticket. None of Jackie Williams’ tickets won, but she said it was “fabulous” that a winning ticket was sold near Baltimore city. “It’s like a small town,” she said. “I’ll bet I’ll know someone who knows the winner.” Victor Edem, who walked out of the 7-Eleven Saturday afternoon with lottery tickets, said he spent $65 on Mega Millions tickets this week at nearby vendors on the same street, but not at this store. “When I heard that the (winning) ticket was sold on Liberty Road, I thought ‘It could be me,’” he said. “But once I found out which store, I didn’t have another thought.” Edem, a native of Nigeria, said he would help his family and build a hospital in the United States if he had won the jackpot. Cynthia Bond and her daughter Taylor were very upset when they heard the winning ticket had been sold at the 7-Eleven where they bought coffee Saturday afternoon. Cynthia Bond said she had spent $40 on Mega Millions tickets, but not at that store. “We have a large family, and if we would’ve won, I’d buy some land and build houses for my relatives,” Cynthia Bond said. Maryland does not require lottery winners to be publicly identified; the Mega Millions winner can claim the prize anonymously. In January, a Pennsylvania couple who won a $128 million Powerball prize with a ticket they bought in Maryland were not identified; they posed for a picture hiding behind a big, fake check. Lottery officials say Maryland’s last Mega Millions winner was a Baltimore County woman who won $24 million in 2008. The year before, Bunky Bartlett of Dundalk split a $330 million jackpot with three other winners in other states. The 7-Eleven is located on a long stretch of a main thoroughfare running through Baltimore County and is among fast-food restaurants, small businesses and tire stores. It will receive a $100,000 bonus for selling a winning ticket.
Once Keith Olbermann worked for MSNBC. Then he left amid a feud with his bosses. Then he signed up to remake Current TV’s news operation. Then he got embroiled in a feud with his bosses (despite ostensibly being one of them). Now, eight months and change later, late on a Friday afternoon Current announced that Olbermann is leaving the network because “Current was… founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann.”His replacement: former CNN host, former New York State governor and former Client No. 9 Eliot Spitzer. Starting in (looks at watch) two hours and 33 minutes.This is one of those inside-media stories, the number of words written about which will probably surpass the actual viewership of the show within minutes. But I’ll add just a few more:* You may love Keith Olbermann or hate him. But at this point, does any TV network hire him again, ever, to do anything? Olbermann’s record of not playing well with his bosses—MSNBC, Fox Sports, MSNBC again—was a running gag well before Current. Maybe sometimes he was sinned against as well as sinning. But here you had him at a network where he was handed the keys–literally given a piece of the network. Maybe the production values were bad. Maybe there was drama we don’t know about. But there’s drama everywhere. People deal with it. At some point, it’s not them, it’s you, no?* So what’s next? The GBTV route? It would at least be ironic to see Olbermann follow the career path of Glenn Beck.* I was, I am on record, not a fan of Spitzer’s CNN show. I’m not going to reargue his broadcast talent nor his legal record. But all that aside, this may not be a bad choice for Current, simply as a business move. The bar is not high, ratings-wise, and Spitzer is a known quantity. If he brings a modest, but devoted and partisan fanbase—and doesn’t gripe too much about the wiring—that may be enough.* That said: really? Is the talent pool really that shallow? Does Current really want to become known as the Plan C Network for Slightly Used Liberals? Current may not be a premium perch, but there have to be plenty of rising talents who would be glad to sign with the network in exchange for the chance to drive a show. Instead, it looks like, this version of Current is a network you have to work your way down to.Update: Within minutes of the announcement, Olbermann responded to Current (and promised legal action) via Twitter. It’s on his Twitter page, or, in full:I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain. nyti.ms/HueZsaIn due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.
Ever since MSNBC host Rachel Maddow began her rise toprominence as a frequent fill-in for Keith Olbermann, she has described herselfas “national security liberal.” Military issues are a frequent subject ofdiscussion on The Rachel Maddow Show, and she’s anchored her show fromIraq and Afghanistan. On the eve of the release of herfirst book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, Maddow offered four ideas on how the military can be a potential force for innovation–in its own ranks and in other aspects of American public life. Innovation has long been a buzzword in the military,Maddow says. But talking about innovation doesn’t always mean improvement in ournational security–or any lasting innovation on the ground. Much of the innovation that has taken place in themilitary has been focused on building new weapons and new armamenttechnologies, something Maddow says isn’t necessarily a good thing.”Innovation does not necessarily follow dollars. That’s certainly truewith military spending,” Maddow tells Fast Company. “There’s been so much moneyinvested in military R&D, so we’ve ended up with a lot of neat stuff. Thequestion is whether or not that’s the best thing for the country as a whole.Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles have protected my own life in Iraq.When’s the next time we’re going to be in Iraq though? We spent billions ofdollars on developing these tools. It was a totally worthwhile investment forthe Iraq War, but it’s not going to necessarily redound to future events.” Maddow talks about an instance in 1996 where when the DefenseScience Board Task Force on Outsourcing and Privatization urged the Pentagon touse outside private contractors because, as members of the private sector, thetask force concluded, they could bring much-needed “innovation andcreativity” to the military’s operations around the world. But thecontractors added more complications than anything else. Brown & Root, one ofthe supposedly “innovative” companies used on this project, was”flying sheets of plywood into Bosnia from the United States, thustransforming each $14 sheet into an $85.98 sheet.” Some aspects of the military resemble startup culture, Maddow says, but they’re found in counterintuitive places. “You absolutely feel the startup energy within the military when you are with deployed units. We are asking our military to do things that are so far beyond traditional military responsibilities that they have had to adapt so fast and really MacGyver it out on the front lines,” Maddow says. “This is happening with forward-operating bases, civil affairs units, the counter-insurgency work they have had to do, working with people in villages who have no interest in us being there. They have to do such big work with so few resources. From the captain level down, the things that these young, ambitious, incredibly talented soldiers have done are not just heroic … they are impressive from a business point of view.” Throughout America’s last decade of war, fighting men and women have been asked to take on nearly impossible assignments, almost always with insufficient resources and in hostile environments. But, Maddow cautions that the belief that the military can and should be able to do “anything” has been part of what has led the military to extend itself so much. She adds that “it really makes a difference what we as a country think the military is capable of doing. Their nature is to be able to say ‘Yes Sir. Can do sir’ to any mission they are assigned. So you can’t fault them for becoming almost ‘implausibly capable’ of saying what it is that they can do.” Returning veterans who have had to make decisions on the fly and have learned to operate in a foreign culture are qualified for bigger things in civilian life, Maddow says. Private business should hire returning veterans not just because it is the right thing to do, but because their experiences of on-the-fly problem-solving when the stakes were life and death makes veterans highly qualified for entrepreneurial jobs when they return home. The Internet famously came out of a 1960s-era military research project that was funded by ARPA, once the military’s crown jewel of basic research. Many innovations came out of ARPA and its better-known successor, DARPA, but the basic research has been de-emphasized and underfunded in the last few years as military budgets have focused on paying for the wars the U.S. has been fighting. Even when military research organizations attempt to tackle important technologies with substantial national security implications, they are often shut down or criticized for political reasons. Recently, for example, the Navy proposed an effort to develop biofuels that could power planes and ships. But Senator McCain criticized the plan for its potential to become “another Solyndra.” While noting her respect for McCain, Maddow finds criticism of such an effort frustrating. “The Pentagon is the biggest user of fuel energy in the world. They see this as a sustainability, affordability, and security issue. The Pentagon, by virtue of necessity, needs to pursue clean energy.” With so much politicization of the energy issue, could the military once more be a research engine to tackle a tough problem like this? “We’re at a point where if you want to get something big done, you really have to do it through the military. The Pentagon is one of the few institutions in our society that has close to infinite resources.” If things work in the military, Maddow says they can come into the private sector later. “When innovation happens it has a way of making its way to market. If it’s worth it, it becomes profitable and it gets sold. The military needed [the early Internet] so that’s why they built it, and then it turned out that everyone could use it.” Innovation thrives on competition. Yet competitive bidding within the military has declined as megamergers have taken place among defense contractors, and there are fewer and fewer companies left with the scale to bid on military contracts. Moreover, in a time of permanent war, no one wants to question the military budget, and defense programs are often approved because of lobbying or political fear of opposing them, rather than because a certain program or new weapon system is really the best that it could be. “If we can get to a place where a Pentagon dollar is seen as the same as every other dollar in budget negotiations, where Pentagon money isn’t protected from scrutiny because it has the word ‘Pentagon’ associated with it, we might make different decisions,” says Maddow, arguing that we have to find ways to instill greater competition in the funding process. The lack of competition sometimes leads to alarming problems. According to a Brookings Institution Study that Maddow cites, in the past 60 years the U.S. has spent $8 trillion on nuclear weapons. In that time, some of the problems of our nuclear weaponry have included: losing several nuclear bombs, accidentally dropping nuclear bombs on Spain, and missiles tucked away in warehouses that are rotting with fungus growing on them. “Everything that we invest in and that we build has consequences. Those consequences are partly in terms of the opportunity cost, but also in terms of what we become responsible for taking care of in its lifespan. In the case of nuclear weapons we are responsible for something that will not go away for any number of countable generations into the future.” Maddow believes that tackling the long-term future of nuclear weaponry is one of the major security issues of our future. “We have a lot of places in the world where we could use talented engineers, weapons experts, and airmen. Aging missiles representing trillions of dollars of investment, sitting there in ICBM silos pointing at what used to be the USSR isn’t a good use of resources. We need to think about how to safely retire our nuclear arsenal and retarget the intellectual talent that created these weapons to the land of usable resources. That needs some big thinking.” David D. Burstein is a young entrepreneur, having completed his first documentary 18 in ’08. He is also the founder & executive director of the youth voter engagement not for profit Generation18. His book about the millennial generation will be published by Beacon Press in early 2013.[Image: Flickr user Carl Jones]
The Final Four is here, and one of the best “undercards” tips off the National Semifinals as Kentucky and Louisville meet for eternal bragging rights and a trip to the title game. Then, Ohio State and Kansas meet in the game that very few are talking about because of the other matchup, but which should be a tremendous game of big men.#1 Kentucky vs. #4 LouisvilleSince 1985, #1 seeds are 4-1 against #4 seeds in national semifinal games, with that one loss being Arizona over North Carolina in 1997. Louisville will try to pull the same feat today.Both of these teams rank in the top 5 in two-point field goal percentage allowed on defense, with excellent defenders and stoppers in the back (Davis for Kentucky and Dieng for Louisville). Dieng will have to stay out of foul trouble for the Cardinals to have a chance.The difference is actually on the other end, where Kentucky is one of the best offenses in the country and can beat you in multiple ways, while Louisville has struggled at times to score. To pull the upset, Louisville must control Kentucky on the boards and get an efficient game out of Peyton Siva. If he’s not the best guard on the floor tonight, they don’t have a chance.Predictions: Kentucky 66, Louisville 61 (Louisville +9.5)#2 Ohio State vs. #2 KansasTwo more great defensive teams provide the theme to this year’s Final Four. Ohio State, though, does it differently. They don’t have a great shot blocker like the other three teams, and do it by playing on the ball defense, starting with Aaron Craft, and being the best at limiting second chance opportunities by controlling the offensive boards. Kansas, on the other hand, has Jeff Withey, who has improved throughout the year and been a key factor in the Jayhawks reaching New Orleans.Tyshawn Taylor is the X-factor in this one. He has shot the ball horribly from outside and is 0 for 17 from three point range, but also took over stretches of the North Carolina game. He will go head to head with Aaron Craft for much of the game. On the other end, DeShaun Thomas will get to match up with Thomas Robinson a fair amount of time, and must also play a smart game where he draws whoever is guarding him all over the offensive zone. Kansas succeeded in the second half against North Carolina by playing a triangle and two, and if they do that in this one, Thomas would definitely be one of the guarded men. Others will have to step up and play it much better than Carolina did.Predictions: Kansas 62, Ohio State 60 (Kansas +3)[US Presswire]
When the basketball squads from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville tip off in New Orleans this afternoon, they’ll be playing on thousands of years of Wisconsin history. The Final Four floor, it turns out, began a couple miles southwest of Neopit in the dense, carefully managed forest of the Menominee Indians. There, this past winter, sugar maples – probably a dozen or more – were felled, hauled to the tribe’s sawmill and cut into long, straight planks that others trimmed, sanded, painted and fashioned into a court that has been installed in the Superdome for today’s semifinals and the national championship on Monday. For the Menominee, it’s a source of pride that the games will be played on lumber cut in their mill from trees harvested from their forest. "It’s the heart and soul of the tribe," Larry Waukau, president of Menominee Tribal Enterprises, said of the more-than-200,000 acres of thick woodlands north of Shawano. The forest is a planetary landmark, visible from space, and a direct connection to land the Menominee believe their ancestors walked 10,000 years ago. And it’s treated respectfully. Menominee Tribal Enterprises, which manages the forest and runs the sawmill, is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as an environmentally responsible producer. The tribe has taken lots of timber here – an estimated 2.5 billion board feet since it began logging in the 1850s, said Marshall Pecore, head forester. Yet, he said, the cutting has been so selective that the forest today contains more lumber than it did 160 years ago. "And it still has the appearance of a pristine forest . . . so something’s happening in the right direction," he said. CBS Sports Network evidently thinks so. The cable channel produced a documentary, "Court of Champions," on the making of the championship floor. It is scheduled to be shown at 8 p.m. Sunday, and it includes a segment filmed on the Menominee Reservation. That’s satisfying to the workers in the mill and forest, and particularly to sales rep Joe Besaw. Last summer, he was talking with Conrad Stromberg of Connor Sports Flooring, a longtime customer of Menominee Tribal Enterprises. In a factory just outside the tiny Upper Peninsula town of Amasa, about 25 miles north of the Brule River border dividing Wisconsin and Michigan, Connor makes some 700 basketball courts a year. They’re used by amateurs and professionals all over the world, and in some very high-profile venues. The last several NCAA championship floors, for example, came from Connor. So did the famous, red-oak parquet in Boston’s TD Garden. As Besaw recounts it, he and Stromberg discussed the possibility of Connor building a court using wood not from multiple suppliers but strictly from the Menominee Reservation. Besaw thought it would be good marketing to be able to point to a specific floor. He didn’t, however, know exactly where the lumber might end up. Late last fall he found out that the Menominee, so to speak, were headed to the Final Four. "I was going crazy with excitement," Besaw said of his reaction. "It was just, ‘Oh, man, this is good.’ " He’s gotten previews of the documentary, in which, amid images of the icy Wolf River and towering pines, he tells how his family has worked in the Menominee logging and milling operations for five generations. "I think they did a terrific job," he said of the CBS Sports Network crew. Only one thing could have made the Final Four weekend better. "I was pulling for Wisconsin and Marquette," Besaw said. "And obviously that didn’t happen, so right now my team is Louisville."
News Flash By Francisco SalazarAnd then there were two. Middleweight contender Andy Lee or unbeaten super welterweight contender Vanes Martirosyan will be the likely opponent to face Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman told Fightnews.com on Wednesday. The bout will take place at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX and will be televised on HBO’s World Championship Boxing. Originally, unbeaten British middleweight champion Martin Malley was to face Chavez, Jr., but had to withdraw from the fight last week because he was unable to obtain a visa to travel to the United States due to legal problems. Ideally, Martirosyan may be the likely candidate because he and Chavez are both promoted by Top Rank. The Armenian-born Martirosyan, (32-0, 20 KOs) from Glendale, CA, also fought on the same card as Chavez at the Alamodome in San Antonio on February 4th, stopping overmatched Troy Lowry in the third round. Lee (28-1, 20 KOs), who is promoted by Lou DiBella, stopped Saul Duran in the second round three weeks ago. Lee has won his last 13 bouts in a row since being stopped in the seventh round by Brian Vera four years ago. Lee would avenge that defeat, winning a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision over Vera in October. March 30th, 2012 For all the latest boxing news, click here.
PALM BEACH — In his first year as offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa’s Jay Gruden made quite an impression on head coach Marvin Lewis.Jon Gruden’s younger brother helped the Bengals to the AFC playoffs as Cincinnati went 9-7, with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton throwing for 3,398 yards and 20 touchdowns.”Jay’s done an outstanding job,” Lewis said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “His ability to work with our young players and infuse them into our offense was awesome.”Gruden, a former Arena League standout as a quarterback and a head coach, spent seven seasons on his brother’s coaching staff with the Buccaneers.”Jay sees the offense through the eyes of the quarterback, — and that’s what I was looking for,” said Lewis. “To me, that makes the most sense. We teamed up his enthusiasm with a dynamic kid like Andy Dalton who can’t get enough and it was a great combination.”Jay Gruden was rumored to be a head coaching candidate in St. Louis and Jacksonville before he removed himself from consideration in January, declaring his intentions to remain in Cincinnati.”He has a bright future, we all know that,” Lewis said, “but Jay Gruden is a guy who has his head down, focused on what he’s doing. He’s not worried about what’s coming down the line. Jay also had a few opportunities with some major universities as well after the season, and he’s going to have opportunities to move on in the future. In my mind, he made a big statement about the city and the organization when he said he was staying with the Bengals.”
The Reese’s College All-Star basketball game featured some purple-and-gold flair Friday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.Rusty Costanza / The Times-PicayuneFormer LSU player Storm Warren, right, of the West battles Mitchell Watt of the East for a rebound during Friday’s College All-Star game at the Superdome. Warren scored three points and grabbed six rebounds in 12 minutes of playing time.Although the East team defeated the West 103-99 in the game sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, two of the West’s players and its coach have LSU connections.LSU senior forward Storm Warren scored three points and pulled down six rebounds in 12 minutes. Warren had five rebounds in the first half.“It’s a great experience actually just being here,” said Warren, who is from Monroe. “I’m blessed to actually be able to play in this event, and I came out and enjoyed it. This is pretty much my last college run, so to speak.”Warren’s West teammate Robert Sacre, who played at Gonzaga, was born in Baton Rouge to LSU parents. His mother, Leslie Sacre, played basketball for the Tigers and his father, Greg LaFleur, played football for LSU before he was drafted in the NFL. Sacre bears a fleur de lis tattoo on his left shoulder in honor of his father.LaFleur became Southern’s athletic director in 2005 but was arrested during the Final Four last year in Houston on a misdemeanor prostitution count. He recently was acquitted by a six-person jury and reportedly is suing Southern over wrongful termination.Sacre said his dad couldn’t make Friday’s game, but his grandparents, girlfriend and 6-month-old son, Quinton, were there. Sacre scored eight points on 3-of-6 shooting in 20 minutes. He also had three rebounds and one assist.Sacre, who is from North Vancouver, British Columbia, said it was a joy to return to the Pelican State, where he spent almost every summer growing up.“I’m trying to get some boudin, but I couldn’t find it, so I’ll have to go to Ville Platte to get the best boudin,” he said.To round out the LSU feel, former Tigers coach Dale Brown coached the West team, and ex-Alabama coach Wimp Sanderson, plaid jacket and all, led the East.The East’s Jae Crowder and the West’s Ricardo Ratliffe stole the show. The two were their teams’ MVPs. Marquette’s Crowder scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He also had five rebounds, three steals and three assists.Ratliffe, of Missouri, shot 7-of-11 and finished with 21 points. He pulled down 10 rebounds and had a block and a steal. UNLV’s Chace Stanback (16 points), Long Beach State’s Casper Ware (10 points, seven assists), New Mexico State’s Wendell McKines (15 points, 18 rebounds) and VCU’s Bradford Burgess (10 points) rounded out the West’s double-figure scorers.Although Crowder did the East’s heavy lifting, teammates John Shurna of Northwestern (12 points), Iona’s Scott Machado (11 points, eight assists), Georgetown’s Henry Sims (11 points), Temple’s Ramone Moore (15 points, nine rebounds) and Buffalo’s Mitchell Watt (11 points) provided support.Shurna made two of three 3-point attempts in the first half and three of four shots overall for nine points. Crowder scored 18 of his total in the second half to help the East pull away.Sacre said the experience was wonderful because of the quality of the guys selected for the game.“There was straight up good people on there,” Sacre said. “Everyone from top to bottom, they were all great guys, and I’m just fortunate to be a part of it.”
Future NBA players Danny Green (left) and Wayne Ellington were key parts of North Carolina’s 2009 NCAA championship team. (File photo/Associated Press) With 18 trips to the Final Four, North Carolina shares the lead among all colleges with UCLA for most appearances in college basketball’s most notable event.The Tar Heels haven’t made a Final Four trip since 2009, when Danny Green helped the Tar Heels to victories over Villanova and Michigan State to claim their fifth NCAA championship. Green hit for 12 points in the semifinals against the Wildcats in the semifinals and added six points in the championship game against the Spartans.After a disappointing loss to Kansas in the Midwest Regional finals this season, the Tar Heels were denied a chance at a championship as they failed to make the Final Four for the third straight season.That failure to advance has diminished Green’s interest in this year’s tournament, making him wonder if it’s really a Final Four without the Tar Heels present.“Not for me, it isn’t,” Green said. ”The Final Four is the Final Four, but I’m done watching it.”Green praised the work of Kansas to beat North Carolina last week, but noted the Tar Heels were a different team with point guard Kendall Marshall out of the lineup and top defender John Henson hobbled by a wrist injury.“They were unfortunate to have some of the guys get hurt at the wrong time and lost to a very good Kansas team,” Green said. ”Give them credit. Hopefully, they (Kansas) will win it and it will make us look better, but at the same time, it’s not the same without them.”Green’s 2009 title team featured future NBA players like Tyler Hansbrough, Raymond Felton, Wayne Ellington, Ed Davis and Green and recently was picked by The Sporting News as No. 7 in a ranking of recent NCAA championship teams. It has been considered as a measuring stick for 2012 favorite Kentucky as the best recent team in college basketball history.Green thinks his 2009 Tar Heel team could play with this year’s Kentucky team.“I think it would be a really good matchup,” Green said. ”We had a good group of guys and the chemistry was really good.“They have pretty good chemistry, too, and a couple of guys who are going to be pros. It would be a tough matchup and would be an exciting game to watch. They did pretty well this year, but I would have to go with our group.”
Katie Couric will be back to say “Good morning” to America at 7 a.m. Couric, who once hosted the Today Show before anchoring for CBS News, will co-anchor ABC’s Good Morning America for a week. In its announcement, ABC News said that Couric will co-anchor with George Stephanopoulos while Robin Roberts is on vacation. Couric will be on the show starting April 2. “You get to throw away your alarm clock for the week and she has to dust hers off,” Stephanopoulos joked to Roberts on GMA Thursday morning. “We’re thrilled to have Katie,” Roberts later told viewers. Couric wrote of her excitement on her Twitter page, which has over 400,000 followers. “Rise + shine! Excited to be back on morning TV next wk, guest hosting @GMA w/ @GStephanopoulos. #KatieOnGMA,” she first wrote. Later, she added that there is “Serious pressure filling in for the fab @RobinRoberts! #KatieonGMA.” She has also thanked several of her followers for congratulating her. TV Newser actually reported the news Wednesday, but it was not confirmed by ABC News until Thursday morning. Couric, who left the Today Show in 2006 to anchor CBS Evening News, is now working over at ABC and its parent, The Walt Disney Company. She will be launching her own syndicated daytime talk show called Katie, which will premiere in September. The ratings gap between the Today Show and GMA continues to grow smaller, notes The New York Times. While NBC’s program still dominates morning ratings, TV Newser reports that the week of March 12 showed the smallest gap in younger viewers between the two since July 2008. image courtesy of CBS