Hey Meredith Vieira, Is A Hot Dog A Sandwich?

As the saying goes, our next guest needs no introduction. What should we say here? Meredith Vieira is Meredith Vieira. She's been a fixture on American television since the '80s. She's a journalist, an expert interviewer and moderator, and a practiced host, helping anchor everything from Today to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? She's Meredith Vieira. And she loves books.

We can say that with certainty, and anyone watching PBS's The Great American Read would agree. The series aims to highlight the works of fiction most loved by Americans, regardless their country of origin (as long as it was published in English, it's fair game) or their literary ambition (both the Left Behind and the 50 Shades series are featured; so are Great Expectations and Moby Dick). As its predictably expert host, Vieira keeps the very nice proceedings moving along, but it's her obvious and endearing affection for books that really holds the series together.

She's an extremely accomplished woman anchoring a lovely series for an American institution. We asked her if a hot dog is a sandwich. Her answer was brief.

The Takeout: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Meredith Vieira: I don't even know where that question came from! Not to me. A hot dog's a hot dog.

TO: Why is a hot dog not a sandwich?

MV: Because it's an insult to the hot dog! It should never be lumped into a different category. I might say relish, or ketchup, or mustard when discussing a hot dog, but never a sandwich. Okay?

TO: Okay.

The Great American Read's fall kickoff aired on September 11; you can catch it (and its many delightful interviews) weekly on Tuesdays through October 23 on PBS.