‘Today’ to broadcast two live shows at once

Lauer, Vieira to host on-air; Gifford, Kotb host online

The “Today” show is set to simultaneously broadcast two live programs — one online and one on-air — today, with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb hosting the Web version in an effort to introduce and promote Today.com, the show’s online extension.

“Today” producer Jim Bell said that the measure gave the net a chance to relaunch the website — “the biggest thing on MSNBC.com,” according to Bell — with a deeper experience that caters to viewers’ desire to see how the “Today” machine works from the inside.

“The online show tomorrow is going to be very cool,” Bell said, “especially for your readers, who want to be flies on the wall in the green room and backstage, who really want to see how it gets done.”

But won’t different content on the web broadcast during “The Today Show” pull viewers away from their TVs? Not necessarily, according to Bell. “There is more multiscreen viewing now,” he said. “And I think that’s a trend that will only continue.”

Redesigned site puts greater emphasis on video clips and also looks markedly more iPad-friendly. The homepage features plenty of prefab social media hookups neatly dotting the featured stories.

Today.com will feature Web-only content allowing viewers deeper access to info about on-air talent, guests and experts; throughout the morning. “Today,” hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera will direct viewers online to help familiarize them with the new content.

Asked if the show would be a headache to stage manage, Bell laughed. “I would think it’s fair to say that with Kathie Lee and Hoda, why bother stage managing?” he said. “They’re sort of gonna do what they’re gonna do and go where they’re gonna go.”