INTERVIEW: Dalton native Deborah Norville celebrates 25 years on ‘Inside Edition’

Originally posted Thursday, March 5, 2020 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Dalton native and UGA alum Deborah Norville today celebrated her 25th anniversary on her show “Inside Edition.”

“I’m feeling happy and good with this lovely celebration,” Norville said in an interview today. “I am proud of where this show is in this landscape. If you look at what’s happening with ratings erosion, flat is the new up. We’re flat and up. We build from our lead ins. We grow our demo. That’s a good thing. Our advertisers like that. The stations like that. The people at CBS like that.”

Norville, 61, said she plans to give all her staff “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books during a champagne reception after taping her shows today. (She does a 3 p.m. version and a 5 p.m. taping that most of America sees. It airs in Atlanta on Peachtree TV at 10 p.m.)

Her show “Inside Edition” has for years been an unusual hybrid of regular news shows and entertainment-only shows. 

“We don’t pretend we’re telling you everything that happened,” Norville said. “We assume are you generally aware. We give you a few detailed insights or sidebars. We provide stuff that is new and different and fun and uplifting. A big part of the secret sauce is that final story. We want you to feel better about your day.” 

Norville said joining “Inside Edition” in 1995 was a godsend for her as a young working mother and journalist because the hours were so relatively kind.

“I could drop the kids off at school,” she said. “I couldn’t pick them up but I could get home, cook and dinner and put them to bed.” Most of her fellow journalist friends on local and cable news couldn’t do that.

Not that Norville hasn’t been a hard worker. After her daughter and third child was born, she decided to do her show from the maternity ward nine hours later.

And she said she just laughs off all the bad hair and wardrobe choices over the years. “I remember a co-anchor after a particularly hideous telecast in Chicago shrug his shoulder and say, ‘It’s already halfway to Pluto.’ There’s always another day.” 

Norville worked briefly in Atlanta from 1979 to 1982, including Georgia Public Television and WAGA-TV when it was a CBS affiliate. She then worked in Chicago, NBC News in New York and the “Today” show as Jane Pauley’s successor. 
But “Inside Edition” will be her legacy. Over the years, she covered 9/11, did a music video, interviewed Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Michelle Obama and spent five days in a prison for a special report.

>>RELATED: My 2014 interview with Norville

The last time I spoke to Norville in 2014, the Ebola virus was the big story. Now it’s coronavirus.

She said at this stage it’s difficult to report given the void of definitive information. She said she likes the Johns Hopkins website for updated info as opposed to the CDC, which “is not up to par. It’s dispiriting to see.” She also like the W.H.O. site

“We do not want to encourage panic,” she said. 

As for how experts are asking people not to touch their face, she realizes how difficult that can be. 

“I have a tissue box,” Norville said. “If I have to itch my face, I grab a tissue.” 

She said she is also washing her hands often. “My skin is so dry looking,” she lamented. 

Last year, Norville made headlines when she had surgery to remove thyroid gland in her neck as a precaution against cancer.

About 20 years ago, a viewer noticed Norville had a bump in her neck so she ended up getting it checked regularly. It had been benign for two decades. But she finally had an issue last year and decided to tell the world about her surgery in part because otherwise, her absence would fuel speculation she had plastic surgery, she said. 

“I am so glad that I was vain enough to think better and tell people,” Norville said “I have heard so many people who are now paying attention to lumps on their necks who had been previously ignoring.”

ON TV

“Inside Edition,” 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., Peachtree TV in Atlanta on weekdays (check local listings for other cities)

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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