Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski announced on the “Today” show Wednesday that they’ve been named NBC Sports’ lead figure skating announcer team for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The duo joined Tamron Hall in the Orange Room and Weir jokingly announced, “we’re pregnant” before announcing the real news.
Among the Emmy nominations announced yesterday, NBC Sports is up for four Creative Arts Emmy nominations for the 2014 Sochi Opening Ceremony. The ceremony, hosted by Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and the New Yorker‘s David Remnick, earned nominations for Outstanding Special Class Program, Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety Special, Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special and Outstanding Technical Direction/Camerawork/Video Control for a Miniseries.
“No single event captures the world’s attention and imagination like an Olympics Opening Ceremony,” said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC Olympics., who was EP of the Opening Cereomony coverage. “These nominations are a welcome recognition of a job well done by many people at NBC Olympics, and also by our wonderful partners.”
Lauer and Vieira, you’ll recall, also worked overtime during the Sochi games filling in for several days for the ailing Bob Costas during NBC’s primetime telecast. The winners of the 2014 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be announced Saturday, August 16.
NBCUniversal has just acquired all media rights to another six Olympics. NBC adds to the three Olympics it secured in an earlier deal: 2016 in Rio, 2018 in Peyongchang and 2020 in Tokyo, with six more Summer and Winter Olympics through 2032, the host cities of which have not yet been selected.
The new deal, valued at $7.65 billion, is the longest U.S. Olympic sports rights agreement in history.
“This is one of the most important days in the history of NBCUniversal,” says NBCU CEO Steve Burke. “The Olympics are part of the fabric of our company, and we couldn’t be more excited that today’s announcement guarantees that this massively popular and profitable programming will continue to air every two years on the broadcast, cable, digital and mobile platforms of NBCUniversal for the next two decades.”
NBC has had the U.S. rights to 11 of the last 14 Olympics. Josh Elliott, said the Olympics played a major part in his decision to leave ABC News for NBC Sports: “A profound and essential part of my being has always been to be a part of an Olympics broadcast,” Elliott said on the day he was hired.
Close to three weeks after NBC’s Sochi Olympics coverage ended, “Today” spoke with U.S. freestyle skiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy Friday morning about his other Olympic victory: bringing stray dogs from Sochi’s streets to America.
Kenworthy originally adopted five dogs that were stranded in Sochi. His friend, photographer Robin Macdonald, stayed in Sochi for a month getting the dogs treatment while also battling Russian politicians who tried to block the pups from leaving.
Macdonald traveled with the dogs from Moscow to New York City. Unfortunately, not all of the rescued pups survived. The ones that did seemed quite content on the “Today” set.
With the Olympics coming to a close, the “Today” show crew is headed back to New York. Before they left Sochi, the anchors looked back at their favorite moments from the games, including the USA vs. Russia men’s hockey game that ended in an overtime shootout and Matt Lauer and Al Roker‘s attempt at the double luge.
This week, the show is looking to keep the momentum going: “Today” has interviews slated with several Olympic athletes, including gold-medal figure skating pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who will perform on the ice rink at Rockefeller Plaza. “Today” will also debut an enhanced fan experience on the Plaza, letting visitors register ahead of time when they plan to come to the show.
The show will also launch “Love Your Selfie,” a series of reports on body image. As part of the reports, the show will collect selfies and post them on the “Today” website, and the anchors will examine their own body image insecurities. The series will kick off with Jenna Bush Hager interviewing Michelle Obama.
Twenty minutes into the penultimate night of Olympic competition from Sochi, Bob Costas took a few minutes to highlight today’s gold medal-winning Ukrainian women’s biathlon relay team amid the backdrop of the violence that raged in their home country this week. “There are about 40 Ukrainian athletes in Sochi,” Costas noted. “They requested to compete with black arm bands. That request was denied.”
Costas then talked about the success of the XXII Winter Olympics. Security has held up, venues have been praised and the warmth of the host country has shone through, he said, before tearing into the Russian regime: ”While Russian citizens have better lives than Soviet citizens of a generation ago, theirs is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria, and that’s just a partial list.”
The Sochi games are Vladimir Putin‘s games, from their inception to their conclusion, and all points in between. If they are successful on their own terms, as appears to be the case, then at least in some corners it will help to burnish the image of a regime with which much of the world takes significant issue. No amount of Olympic glory can mask those realities any more than a biathlon gold medal, though hard-earned and deeply satisfying as it is, can put out the fires in Kiev.
“When are you taking off?” Lauer asked, with a dark sunglass-wearing Costas responding he’ll leave Sochi on Monday.
“You taking the red-eye home?” Lauer asked while laughing. “Did I walk into that or what?” Costas replied.
Costas also thanked Lauer and Meredith Vieira for filling in for him while he battled an eye infection, which he said made him feel miserable, adding he felt he wasn’t holding up his end of the bargain while he was out and his colleagues were working so hard.
CNBC’s Brian Sullivan was interviewing Olympian Julie Chu when the news came down that she was selected as the U.S. flag-bearer for Sunday’s closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics. Sullivan gave her the news and captured her surprised reaction. The U.S. Women took silver in hockey. Canada grabbed gold.
Bob Costas returned to NBC’s Olympic coverage tonight, dry eyes — and wit — intact.
Costas’s eye infection became one of the story lines of the first week of the Sochi games. “Too much attention spent on it,” Costas told Brian Williams earlier today. ”It just got to the point where they were so blurry and light sensitive, I couldn’t impose that on the public.”
Costas hosted the first night of coverage last Thursday, with an infection apparent in his left eye. Over the weekend, it spread to his right eye. By Tuesday, Lauer was called up to fill in. Meredith Vieira relieved Lauer on Friday and Saturday.
Before the first commercial break, Costas added: “My sincere thanks to Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, two friends and true pros who stepped in for me on short notice and my thanks to you who expressed your concern and my apologies for the unavoidable but uncomfortable circumstance of a broadcaster’s ill-timed affliction getting in the way, even for just a few moments, for what we all came here for: the Olympic games.”
Christin Cooper, a former World Cup skier who is working for NBC Olympics covering alpine events, is getting criticism for her questions following Bode Miller‘s bronze medal-winning super-G. Cooper asked three different times, in various ways about Miller’s brother who died last April of an apparent seizure. Cooper became a Twitter trending topic in the minutes after the interview aired in full during the 9:30ET half hour of NBC’s primetime coverage.
It was Miller who first mentioned his brother during a more general question about what this medal — his sixth Olympic medal — meant compared to the others. But the follow-ups all focused on his brother, Chilly:
Cooper: Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here, what’s going through your mind?
Miller: I mean, a lot, obviously. Just a long struggle coming in here, and just a tough year.
Cooper: I know you wanted to be here, with Chilly, really experiencing these games and how much does it mean for you to come up with a great performance for him and was it for him?
Miller: I mean, I don’t know if it’s really for him, but I wanted to come here and, I don’t know, I guess make myself proud.
Cooper: When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?
At that point Miller puts his head down, then walks away from the interview. NBC ended primetime tonight showing Miller on the medal stand, where he shared the bronze with Canadian Jan Hudec. Fellow American Andrew Weibrecht took silver in the super-G. The gold went to Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud.
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