Matt Lauer

called it "a very bittersweet Wednesday morning" as he and the rest of the staff and crew on NBC's

Today

said goodbye to

Meredith Vieira

.

It was lavish and emotional. There was a touching clip retrospective of Vieira's five years on the show. She was serenaded by Carole King and Jack Black. And there were heartfelt testimonials from coworkers Lauer, Al Roker, Ann Curry (who is replacing Vieira), and Natalie Morales.

The highlight: An extended song-and-sprint which had Vieira

running all over the set to Journey's

"Don't Stop Believin'. " Out on the plaza, she was greeted by a stunningly uncoordinated flash mob of dancers that included Abe Vigoda and Jimmy Fallon. Vieira, 57, says she's leaving the show to spend time

with her family. (We also liked David Letterman's Top Ten explanation a few weeks ago: "Only so many times you can learn secrets to making chilled summer soups.")

Curry will have a tough time filling Vieira's pumps.

- David Hiltbrand

TV royalty in office?

You'd think New York celebs would stay out of politics for good after the DonaldGate disaster. Long Island native Alec Baldwin is undeterred: USA Today says he may enter the Big Apple's mayoral race. "I wouldn't rule it out," he tells the Hollywood Reporter. Alec has a leg up (as it were) on his only real potential rival, the scandal-ridden Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Politics the hip-hop way

Lupe Fiasco isn't happy about Barack Obama's presidency, the rapper tells CBS' Shira Lazar. "To me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America," says Lupe, who entered the hip-hop pantheon with his '06 hit record Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor.
"I'm trying to fight the terrorism that's causing the other forms of terrorism. You know the root cause of terrorists is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen." How does the Fiasco fight the power? Does he vote? Does he march?
"No, I don't vote," he says. "I don't get involved in politics. It's meaningless. To be honest." Yes, be honest. Who was it who said we get the government we deserve?

Cellphonehackgate rocks U.K.

London's the Guardian reports that notable notables Kate Middleton and former prime minister Tony Blair may also have been victimized by investigators hired by tabloids to hack celebrities' cellphones. Several arrests have been made in the months-long investigation. Alleged victims include Prince William and Prince Harry.

It's . . . it's . . . alive! . . .

The famous Anthony Weiner Twitter photo has gone viral after a patriotic citizen leaked it online. The question on America's mind: Will we go blind if we see it?

His love will never die . . .

Shakespeare has found his match! In a poetic cry of the heart warbled to FoxNews.com, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's ex-beau Jionni LaValle chirps of his Snooki love. "I'm truly in love with the girl - people don't believe me when I say it, but Snooki is a beautiful girl, inside and out," Jionni says. "I know she's in love with me."
Poor boy needs to stop listening to "I Never Stopped Loving You."

Kim Kardashian: I'm coming for ya

Kim Kardashian says she may sue In Touch Weekly for a report claiming that the world's leading famous-for-being-famous celeb is cheating on fiancé Kris Humphries, 26, with New England Patriots slice of NFL manliness Bret Lockett. "She pursued me," In Touch quotes Bret, 24, as saying. "This is absolutely not true," Kim tells E! News. "I have no idea who this person is."

Harmon's good dis-harmony

It's not easy being a working mom. Just ask Law & Order alum Angie Harmon, 38, who is finding it hard to juggle her time between her TNT show Rizzoli & Isles and her family, husband Jason Sehorn and daughters Finley, 7, Avery, 6, and Emery, 2.
"I'm a mess. I've lost 10 pounds since I got here. This is the hardest time in my life, for sure," Harmon tells Good Housekeeping after a 90-hour workweek that kept her away from her loved ones.
"If there was a way to cure mommy guilt, I would bottle it and be a bazillionaire."

She's not emaciated, just fat-free

LeAnn Rimes couldn't get any peace even during her honeymoon with hon' Eddie Cibrian! Photogs captured the rhymester in her bikinis. She looks emaciated in the pics, leading to rumors she has an eating disorder.
"I work out and take care of myself . . . not in an over-obsessive way," Rimes, 28, tells People. "People are calling me bulimic or anorexic . . . and these are real issues and diseases that I don't have."

Award winners

Taylor Swift won the top prize, the fan-voted Video of the Year award, for "Mine," at the CMT Music Awards on Wednesday night in Nashville. Blake Shelton was the night's only multiple winner, taking male video of the year for "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" and best Web video for "Kiss My Country A--." Other winners included Miranda Lambert, female video for "The House That Built Me"; Lady Antebellum, group video, for "Hello World"; and Justin Bieber and Rascal Flatts, collaborative video, for "That Should Be Me."

Backing up Rihanna

Actress Gabrielle Union is lending her voice to the attack-laden dialogic encounter between Rihanna and outraged fans who have attacked her for her music vid "Man Down," which shows the Chris Brown survivor using a handgun to counterattack a male attacker. "During my rape I tried 2 shoot my rapist, bt I missed," tweets Union, who was raped when she was 19. "Over the yrs I ralized tht killin my rapist would've added insult 2 injury."

Quote du jour

Hangover star Zach Galifianakis isn't down with the whole instant-fame thing. His new status, he says, has attracted weird admirers, including execs from Nike who asked him to be a brand spokesperson. "We had a conference call," he says. "The first thing I said was, 'So, do you guys still have seven-year-olds making your stuff?' "

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services and websites. Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.