12/17/2013 10:50 am ET

Meredith Vieira's First Reporting Job Was On A Snowman

Meredith Vieira got a blast from the past on "The Tonight Show" when Jay Leno surprised her with footage from her first TV news report. It was Vieira's first big break at a local station in Providence, Rhode Island, and she was reporting on a snowman. But this wasn't just a fluff piece. As Vieira reported, "In case you don’t appreciate the artistic effort involved, you’ll be pleased to know the snowman melts at the rate of one inch per hour."

That job was almost the beginning and end of Vieira's journalism career. On her YouTube channel, she confessed that she was fired about a year into the job because her news director didn't think she had what it took. But Vieira wasn't going to just walk away. "I went back ... and I confronted my boss ... I said, ‘I don’t care what you think. I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna succeed despite what you say.’ And he stood there for a minute, he said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna give you another shot.”

That might not work for everyone, but Vieira's tenacity has paid off big time for her. She's launching her own talk show next fall -- it's already cleared in 60 percent of the country -- and she can still be seen on NBC from time to time. In fact, Vieira is joining the "Today" family in Russia to cover the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. EST on NBC.

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