×

Meredith Vieira to Become First Woman to Host Olympics Primetime Show Solo

Bob Costas will once again be forced to sit out NBC’s Friday night coverage of the Winter Olympics and will be replaced by Meredith Vieira, the first woman to ever host the primetime coverage solo.

Costas has been out sick all week with an eye infection. Matt Lauer has filled in as host Tuesday through Thursday.

Executives at NBC envision Vieira staying in the primetime seat for two nights, said Jim Bell, executive producer of the Olympics broadcast for NBCUniversal. “This has lingered for a little bit,” he said during a conference call with reporters on Friday. “We will just have to see, as we’ve done pretty calmly and rationally, and take it one day at a time. We’ll wake up tomorrow and see how Bob is doing and make a decision then.” Bell said NBC executives had not yet contemplated removing Costas from hosting duties.

The choice of Vieira was made largely because she is less closely affiliated with job duties for any particular program, said Bell. Teh network has a strong roster of candidates for the Olympics primetime seat, he said, but “many of them are already working for us on the air.”

Vieria has maintained ties as a contributor to NBC since stepping down from co-anchoring duties on “Today” in 2011. She co-hosted the broadcast of the Games’ opening ceremonies. ” Her schedule was a little bit looser,” said Bell. “It was a really easy decision to keep the other parts of the operation working smoothly, and not disrupt another part or another show that anybody else is doing.”

Vieira, the veteran broadcaster said taking the primetime Olympics seat is “not something I ever anticipated having the opportunity to do and I’m sorry that is has to happen this way, but I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this and hope to do a good job for all the folks here.”

Even with Costas out (and the harsh time difference), ratings for the Sochi Winter Olympics have been on par with the ratings for Vancouver four years ago.

Bell said an already-announced look at the infamous 1994  incident involving Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding was presently planned to air during the last night of Olympics coverage. NBC announced in January that Kerrigan, a winner of the Silver Medal in the 1994 Winter Olympics, would join its Olympics team as an analyst while taking part in an NBC documentary about the attack. Both Kerrigan and Harding agreed to be interviewed by NBC correspondent Mary Carillo.

More TV

  • Love Island - Pictured: Kyra Green,

    TV Ratings: Is 'Love Island' Deserted?

    Two weeks have passed on “Love Island” and plenty of singles have coupled and uncoupled in their bid for love and a fat $100,000 pay check. However, there’s one couple that doesn’t seem to be hitting it off: CBS and “Love Island.” Ratings for the show have been far from paradisiacal, and with the network [...]

  • Jenny Wall Eryk Casemiro Nickelodeon

    Jenny Wall Named Nickelodeon CMO, Eryk Casemiro Named Senior VP of Nickelodeon Preschool

    Nickelodeon has hired two new executives, tapping Jenny Wall to become chief marketing officer and Eryk Casemiro to become senior vice president of Nickelodeon Preschool. Most recently CMO at Spotify-owned Gimlet Media, Wall will be responsible for all on- and off-air consumer marketing, brand creative and content launches across all of Nickelodeon’s platforms, including Nicktoons, [...]

  • Liz Garbus on Why We May

    Liz Garbus on Why The World May Never Know 'Who Killed Garrett Phillips'

    By the time Liz Garbus’s two-part documentary “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” debuts on HBO, there could be a new public lead in the case of the murdered titular 12-year-old. As least, that’s what many may hope after the new St. Lawrence County district attorney admitted a new tip earlier this spring. Garbus says she would [...]

  • Mike Fleiss

    'Bachelor' Producers in Wait-and-See Mode Amid Police Probe Into Fleiss Incident

    Those working on “The Bachelor” and its sister shows are in wait-and-see mode as a domestic incident involving creator Mike Fleiss continues to be investigated in Kauai, according to sources close to production. The results of the police investigation are still pending, after Fleiss’ wife, Laura Fleiss, had accused him of attacking her in their [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content