NBC’s Big Papal Plans

By Chris Ariens 

NBC News is among the news divisions planning ambitious coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S., starting with NBC News correspondent Anne Thompson who will travel with the Holy Father as the papal plane arrives tomorrow in Cuba, then to the U.S. for his visits next week, and back to Italy.

Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie will anchor the Today show from Washington, D.C. Wednesday and Thursday. Lester Holt will anchor NBC Nightly News from D.C. on Wednesday, from New York on Thursday and Friday, and from Philadelphia on Saturday. Holt will also anchor NBC’s network special reports.  Brian Williams will begin his run as MSNBC’s breaking news anchor with the Pope’s arrival Tuesday at Andrews Air Force Base, scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.

Others participating include Maria Shriver, Chris Jansing, who covered the two previous papal transitions for MSNBC, and Luke Russert, who, along with his parents Tim Russert and Maureen Orth had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI just days before the legendary NBC Newsman died in June 2008.


Late last month, ABC’s David Muir moderated a town hall with Pope Francis from the Vatican during which the Pope spoke to groups of Americans in Texas, California and Illinois.

Here are NBC’s full details:


Lester Holt Anchors “NBC Nightly News” Live from Washington D.C, New York, and Philadelphia

TODAY Show Live from Washington D.C on Wednesday and Thursday

NBC to Offer Several Special Reports During Important Events Throughout the Pope’s Visit

September 18, 2015– NBC News will mark Pope Francis’ visit to the United States and Cuba with special coverage across all platforms beginning Saturday, September 19 through Sunday, September 27.

An extensive team of NBC News journalists will cover all aspects of the historic trip, including news events, security issues, and the reaction from the American people.

• NBC News Correspondent Anne Thompson will travel with the Holy Father on the Papal plane throughout his trip from Rome to Cuba, the U.S., and back.
• NBC News Rome Correspondent Claudio Lavanga will report from Cuba and throughout the stops in the United States.
• NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams and NBC News Correspondent Stephanie Gosk will cover the latest security issues and concerns as the Pope travels along the East Coast.
• NBC News National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer will join a group of pilgrims in New York and Philadelphia.
• NBC News Contributor Maria Shriver will provide observations and analysis for TODAY and “Meet the Press.”
Chuck Todd, moderator of “Meet the Press” and NBC News Political Director, Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent, will provide analysis.
• Correspondents Peter Alexander, Chris Jansing, Kelly O’Donnell, Tom Costello, Rehema Ellis, Ron Mott and Luke Russert will also contribute to Papal coverage across the NBC News platforms.

Lester Holt will anchor “NBC Nightly News” live from unique locations in Washington, D.C on Wednesday, New York on Thursday and Friday, and Philadelphia on Sunday.

On Wednesday and Thursday, TODAY will broadcast live from Washington D.C with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.

NBC News will provide network special reports at key moments throughout the visit, including the White House ceremony, the address to Congress, and the speech at the UN General Assembly.

In addition, several experts will join the coverage to provide insight and analysis, including George Weigel, NBC News Senior Vatican Analyst and Papal biographer, Bishop Robert Barron, NBC News Vatican Analyst, and Kathleen Sprows Cummings, associate professor at the University of Notre Dame.