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Couric, Palin to face off again on morning shows

Associated Press Modified: April 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm •  Published: April 2, 2012

Clearly, "Today" isn't going to sacrifice its winning streak without a fight.

The guest turn by Palin, who, before she entered politics worked briefly as a local TV sportscaster, was announced over the weekend on NBC's website. The network promised she would "reveal a different side" than viewers have seen before. During the 7 a.m. hour, she will also submit to an interview.

But "Today" has other viewer-luring tricks up its sleeve.

Announced guests this week include reality stars Giuliana and Bill Rancic (who appeared on Monday) and Kim Kardashian, as well as "Octomom" Nadya Suleman, Tori Spelling and over-the-top pop singer Nicki Minaj, who will perform live.

NBC teased that an undisclosed "Today" show "legend" would make a return visit on Monday's show. The legend turned out to be Vieira, who only exited last June. (She was back to announce she will re-join "Today" in London for the Summer Olympics.)

As if that weren't enough excitement, NBC broke the news in a Twitter posting that Tuesday's show would also include what it termed "a big NBC announcement" by ubiquitous TV personality Ryan Seacrest.

But all of this pales in comparison to the main event: Tuesday's morning-show showdown between Palin and Couric.

The original bout in October 2008 was a clear win for Couric, no matter if you thought she conducted a fair interview for which Palin was dismally underprepared or if you believe she came at Palin with a fusillade of unfair "gotcha" questions.

What will happen Tuesday?

Might either Palin or Couric make a reference, veiled or barbed, to the other? Which of them will score the higher ratings for this head-to-head hour? Will "Today" show devotees with an aversion to Palin turn to "GMA" to register their protest?

And will some viewers skip this rematch, if that's what it is, altogether? An available alternative, third-place rival "CBS This Morning," will likely be more focused on news than stunts.