Today’s Earthcast: “It’s Never Been Done Before”

By Alissa Krinsky 

Today EP Jim Bell calls it an unprecedented broadcast effort. “We are dispatching our anchors to literally the Ends of the Earth.” Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, and Al Roker will report live, simultaneously, from the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Equator.

Bell calls the week-long series, which begins Novemeber 5, “a huge undertaking. The first broadcast from the top, bottom, and middle of the earth.”

Where in the world will Matt Lauer be? The Arctic. Greenland, specifically. But this trip is not like his nine-year-old globe-trotting “Where In The World” series. “This is all about the content. Where In the World is an adventure, but this is serious,” says Lauer.

Curry will go to Antarctica, via New Zealand. A long trip that will take up to ten days. “There’s a big risk I won’t even get there on time,” says Curry. And that’s just half the battle. “It’s very tricky to get a signal out,” from Antarctica, she says. “There’s a little prayer that’ll go into it.”

Roker is traveling to the Equator, with reports from an endangered cloud forest in Mindo, Ecuador. Vieira will remain in New York, anchoring background stories and leading panel discussions on environmental issues.

Lauer says “the message” is “to motivate people and to inspire people” to reduce their carbon footprint.

ABC News made its own global footprint on the issue of climate change last spring. Planet Earth 2007 was a cross-program series featuring reports from Africa, Australia, Asia, and elsewhere. Bell believes NBC’s effort, though, is unique, with the unprecedented live, simultaneous broadcast.

Curry chimed in. “No one should ever underestimate the power of the Today show. It’s in a class all by itself.”