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Olympics

From Sochi, ‘Today’ Show No. 1 on Wednesday

RokerLauerAfter ABC’s “Good Morning America” came out on top among total viewers on Tuesday — the first time a non-Olympics rights-holding network has won a morning show since the collection of electronic records (1991) — NBC’s “Today” was back on top in both total viewers and the ad-friendly younger demo.

“Today” averaged 6.127 million total viewers to “GMA’s” 5.647 million, a +9% advantage.

In the A25-54 demo, “Today” averaged 2.435 million to “GMA’s” 2.201 million, winning by +11%.

So far, the five full weekday broadcasts from Sochi (Thurs., Feb. 6 to Wed., Feb 12) “Today” is averaging 6.076 million total viewers, up +1% from the same period of the 2010 Vancouver games.

If “Today” wins Thursday and Friday of this week, it’ll be the first weekly win in 77 tries. Final numbers will be out next Friday (delayed a day because of the Presidents’ Day holiday.)

Meredith Vieira to Make NBC Olympics History

Bob Costasbad fortune will result in history tonight as Meredith Vieira becomes the first woman to anchor NBC’s Olympic primetime coverage.

“I’m really worried because I have to host primetime tonight…I’m filling in for Mr. C,” Vieira said in a phone call to “Today” this morning. “It’s an honor to fill in for him. You think about the Olympics, and you think the athletes and then Bob Costas.”

Matt Lauer has been filling in for Costas the last three nights. Costas — who has hosted NBC’s Olympics primetime coverage since 1988 — is starting to feel better from his eye infection and hopes to return soon.

This also gives a nice boost for Vieira who begins hosting her own daytime syndicated show this Fall. NBC has been pulling in more than 22 million viewers in primetime during the Sochi games.

Matt Lauer Will Be Back For Third Night of Olympics Coverage

Matt Lauer will host a third night of NBC’s Olympics primetime and late night for the ailing Bob Costas as Costas continues to battle an eye infection. Before Wednesday’s primetime, Jim Bell, who is running the show in Sochi for NBC, and worked with Lauer on “Today,” Tweeted:

And now you can add another 5+ hours as Lauer adds primetime and late night duties tonight. And the infection may be spreading to other networks. On “CBS This Morning” Norah O’Donnell motioned to Jeff Glor who was also uncharacteristically wearing specs on set: “Poor Jeff Glor has got a Costas infection going on.”

Matt Lauer Back for Second Night of Olympic Hosting

LauerSochiMatt Lauer will be back hosting NBC’s Olympics primetime coverage tonight as Bob Costas recovers from an eye infection. Lauer filled in last night and was back on “Today” this morning (late afternoon Sochi time). “You’re coming out of the bullpen tonight again, my friend,” Costas said to Lauer this morning.

Costas says he’s not feeling sick, but because it’s an eye infection, he can’t do what he’s done for the last 26 years. He’s hosted every Summer Olympics since 1988, and since 2000, has been the host for both the Summer and Winter games on American TV. NBC has the U.S. rights through the 2020 games in Tokyo.

“I’ve done lots of ball games and events feeling much less than my best,” says Costas. “My eyes are so blurry and watery and become so light-sensitive, they’re constantly tearing up. And I can’t be in the studio.”

Lauer joked: “You go in, you just kind of bang it out. I had to go in early, not to practice my lines, but to Lysol your whole dressing room.”

Matt Lauer and Al Roker Enlist Norwegian Curlers to Find Olympic Swagger

SwaggerMatt Lauer and Al Roker‘s search for some “Olympic swagger” brought them to the curling crew from Norway on this morning’s “Today” show.

“I think what we’re missing is some type of swagger…some type of bold statement,” Lauer said.

“Norwegian curlers,” Roker said, with the team conveniently standing next to them.

The Scandinavian athletes advised the hosts to don crazy colorful threads, and lent them their outfits.

The full-body red, white, and blue apparently turned eyes, as the rest of the “Today” crew got in on the colorful wardrobe.

Today crew

Matt Lauer Will Be Filling in for Bob Costas, As Eye Infection Spreads

CostasEyesLauerBob Costas‘s eye infection, most likely pink eye, is getting worse. So much so, that Matt Lauer will be filling in for him on NBC’s primetime coverage tonight.

The infection, which began on the first day of NBC’s Sochi coverage, has spread from Costas’ left eye to his right eye. Last night, Costas’ reddened eyes lit up Twitter.  This morning on “Today” Lauer and Al Roker talked about how they saw Costas having breakfast in the hotel. “You gotta feel for the guy,” said Lauer. Costas then called in to the show and broke the news to Lauer that he’ll be filling in. Costas used a baseball metaphor to pitch the news.

“I was trying to throw a complete game here,” said Costas. “But I think we’re going to have to go to the bullpen. And I don’t know if you’re aware of this, or not, but you’re Mariano Rivera at least tonight.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 9.11.40 AMLauer groaned: “So I’m going to step in for you tonight? The master of Olympic prime time?”

“I believe that’s it. And let’s hope it’s only tonight. Because right now I’m walking around — I might as well be playing Marco Polo. I have no idea where I am.”

During NBC’s late night show last night, Costas took a sip of Russian vodka adding, “My eyes can’t get any redder.” After he heard the news this morning, Lauer said, “I’ll be doing the shots of vodka starting in about 15 minutes.”

Lauer’s turn in prime time will pair him with his old “Today” show EP Jim Bell who is heading up NBC’s Olympics coverage.

Video from the “Today” show after the jump…

Read more

Chris Jansing Answering Fan Questions From Sochi

JansingReporting from her seventh Olympics, MSNBC host Chris Jansing is taking some time for Q and A with fans on MSNBC.com.

Inside Cable News asked Jansing if her living arrangements are as bad as the reports circulating from other journalists:

Most of the problems that have been reported have been in the mountain village; I’m down in town at what’s called the “Coastal Cluster,” and the hotels where NBC folks are staying are all new. While the shower curtains are missing and there are no dressers in the rooms, the design seems more European than unfinished to me. And honestly, when you’re working 16 hour days and on TV live until 4 a.m. Sochi time – you fall into bed, and as long as it’s clean and warm, you’re pretty happy!!!

Fred Orth asked if heightened security is dampening the spirit of the game.

The consensus of athletes I’ve talked to is absolutely not. They’re used to travel and adjusting to new conditions. So this is — they tell me — another thing to deal with toward a goal of keeping their focus on being ready to perform. Also, this is the most accessible athletes’ village to the actual venues — maybe ever.

Matt Lauer to Lindsey Vonn Hat Critique: ‘Thanks for The Tip…Pal’

Laur VonnAn interesting fashion exchange during NBC’s Sochi Olympics coverage this morning between Matt Lauer and Olympic correspondent Lindsey Vonn after Vonn had a word of advice for Lauer’s on his hat.

Wrapping up a segment on the most recent competition, Vonn interjected:

“Hey, by the way, you should probably never wear that hat that you wore in the last segment ever again…just from one friend to another, Vonn said, drawing giggles from Lauer.

“Little too pointy up top?” Lauer asked as Vonn shook her head: “No, just never never,” she said.

“I thought it looked like a Hershey’s Kiss,” Lauer added. “Thanks for the tip…pal.”

You be the judge of Lauer’s hat after the jump. Read more

Brian Williams Reports Live from Sochi on Grounded Plane in Istanbul

Brian WilliamsNBC News broke into regular programming this afternoon with Brian Williams reporting from Sochi on a plane that was grounded in Istanbul with a hijacker on board trying to change its direction toward Sochi.

Richard Engel joined Williams, reporting the plane left from the Ukraine destined for Istanbul, but a hijacker told the crew there was a bomb on board, demanding them to change directions toward Sochi. Once in Turkish airspace, the pilot sounded an alarm notifying of a hijacking, drawing rescue efforts.

The hijacker has been taken into custody.

Williams report came over an hour and twenty minutes after CNN first reported the news at 12:12. Fox News was next at 12:15, with NBC breaking in at 1:36. The plane grounding happened during the same time the opening ceremony was underway at the Sochi Olympics, which is nine hours ahead of eastern time.

Bob Costas Begins Sochi Olympics Coverage With Eye Infection

CostasEyeBetween the missing shower curtains, brown tap water and computer hacking affecting journalists covering the Sochi Games, NBC’s Bob Costas might have it the worst. He has an eye infection. At the start of NBC’s fortnight (+3 days) of coverage tonight Costas announced, “I woke up with my left eye swollen shut and just about as red as the Soviet flag.” Costas says he’ll be wearing glasses for the next couple of nights.

“According to NBC doctors here, it’s some kind of minor infection which should resolve itself by the weekend,” Costas added.

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