So it’s official: Meredith Vieira is making the leap from The View to Today; by late summer, she’ll fill the vacancy left at NBC’s top-rated morning show when Katie Couric exits in May.

I know some Today loyalists will decry the decision by NBC brass not to promote from within — Weekend Today co-host Campbell Brown, Today news reader Ann Curry, and correspondent Natalie Morales were all reportedly considered front-runners for the job — but I think it’s a shrewd move. In Vieira, NBC lands a co-host who’s likable and funny, has serious news credentials (with eight Emmys under her belt), and possesses an inherent star power that both Morales and the insufferably earnest Curry seem to lack.

With ABC’s Good Morning America, a close No. 2 in the ratings, poised to try to close the gap while Today is in transition, Vieira seems like the smartest bet in both the short and long term. I mean, I’m certainly not planning to change my Today-based viewing habits, unless of course Vieira’s chemistry with Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and Curry proves disastrous. But considering her View gig requires her to juggle the feuding Star Jones and Joy Behar, plus eerie host-bot Elisabeth Hasselbeck, her new assignment ought to be easy-breezy.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Will you choose Today when Vieira takes over, or look to one of the show’s competitors?

addCredit(“Meredith Vieira: Andrew Eccles”)