The Today show announced its coverage plans for next week’s Summer Olympics in Beijing. And for the first time, all four anchors will report live from an international Olympic Games. The show could also be called “Tonight” for the time they’re there; with a 12-hour time difference Today will air at 7pm Beijing time.
Matt Lauer will be in China beginning Monday reporting from The Great Wall. Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry join Lauer on Thursday, and Al Roker joins the group on Monday, August 11. An 8-months pregnant Natalie Morales will hold down the Studio 1A fort.
Besides coverage of the athletes and Americans visiting China, the anchors will report from other parts of the country, including Vieira re-visiting families she met during a June trip to the earthquake zone in southwestern Sichuan province.
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America’s favorite morning program will say “zaijian” to Studio 1A, and once again bring the excitement of the Olympic Games to viewers at home. Matt, Meredith, Al and Ann will make the 6,842-mile journey to Beijing, China for The Games of the XXIX Olympiad. This trip marks the first time ever all four “Today” anchors will report live from an international Olympics.
Before the start of the Games, “Today” will take viewers to some of the most magnificent places in China. “Today’s” Olympic coverage begins Monday, August 4 with Matt Lauer reporting live from The Great Wall of China. He will continue his pre-Game journey with reports from The Forbidden City for Tuesday, August 5, and on Wednesday, August 6 he will be live from The Summer Palace.
Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry will join Lauer in Beijing Thursday, August 7 on “Today’s” exclusive set on the Olympic Green. “Today’s” set is centrally located in Olympic Park and boasts outstanding views of the remarkable Birds Nest Olympic stadium, The Water Cube (the aquatics center) and the National Indoor Stadium (the gymnastics venue). Lauer, Vieira and Curry will give viewers a backstage tour of the set, which “Today” will call home for the duration of the Games. Lauer will also talk to President George H. W. Bush, who served as Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to China from 1974-1976. On Friday, August 8, Lauer, Vieira and Curry will give a preview of the Opening Ceremony and look ahead to the start of the Games. Additionally, reports from Vieira’s June 2008 trip to China will air throughout the week of August 4.
Beginning Monday, August 11, Al Roker will join Lauer, Vieira and Curry on “Today’s” Olympic Green set to begin two weeks of in-depth Olympic news coverage. During the course of the Games, “Today” will give viewers an all-access pass to everything Olympic. “Today” will go behind-the-scenes of the Games and profile Team USA. America’s first family will talk to the Olympic teams as well as individual athletes including Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson, Katie Hoff, Dara Torres, and many others, and they will also take a look at the competition the U.S. athletes will be facing. “Today” will check in with the athletes live each day as they go for the gold.
“Today” will also journey to some of China’s lesser-known areas and introduce viewers to unique culture, society and cuisine. “Today” will visit a remote fishing village along the River Li, travel to the World Heritage Site, Lijiang, and take a detailed look at the famous landscape of Guilin. Meredith Vieira will make a return trip to the earthquake zone to visit the families she met during her trip in June.
In addition, TODAYshow.com will offer extended interviews with the athletes, new slideshows, and web-exclusive video reports. Producers and correspondents will provide behind-the-scenes accounts of the Games and events around Beijing on the allDAY blog. Viewers can submit questions for “Today” anchors as well as athletes through TODAYshow.com, and some questions may be answered on the broadcast. Consumers can also visit the website to get interesting tips and information, including recipes from “Today’s Chow” segments. Also, for the first time ever “Today” will provide interesting Olympic facts and updates on the social networking website, Twitter.com.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics marks the sixth Olympic Games the “Today” show has traveled to and covered. NBC Universal is broadcasting its record 11th Olympics with NBC Sports producing an unprecedented 3,600 hours of Beijing Olympic Games coverage, the most ambitious single media project in history. NBCU’s unprecedented Olympics coverage features the most live coverage in the United States (approximately 2900 hours), across the most platforms, of any Summer Olympics in history when the Games of the XXIX Olympiad commence on August 8.
The 3,600 total hours of coverage on seven NBC Universal networks: NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD, as well as NBCOlympics.com, is 1,000 hours more than the combined coverage for every televised Summer Olympics in U.S. history (Rome 1960 — Athens 2004, 2,562 hours). NBCOlympics.com will feature approximately 2,200 total hours of live streaming Olympic broadband video coverage, the first live online Olympic coverage in the United States.