Water-Ready Anchors Prep for This Year’s ‘Ends of the Earth’

By Chris Ariens 

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

First on TVNewser: ‘Today’ is going to the ends of the Earth. Again.

Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Al Roker will pack up their extreme-weather gear in November as the show reprises its geographical lollapalooza from November ’07, ‘Today’ boss Jim Bell confirms to TV Newser.

Co-anchor Meredith Vieira will also participate in the week-long trek, part of NBC’s ongoing coverage of climate change. In ’07, she stayed back in the studio in case of a big breaking story or a major snafu with a remote.

Bell promises the locales “definitely” won’t be the same as a year ago — Lauer on a boat in the Arctic Circle, Curry on the ice in Antarctica, Roker in a rain forest at the Equator, in Ecuador. All reported live.

The theme this time: “Water, the world’s most precious resource,” Big Jim says. “Water. Ice. Snow. Desert. The extremes of the planet.”

Bell won’t divulge details, but we’re guessing one of the spots will be the 4,100-plus mile Nile, since it happens to be the world’s longest river. Pretty extreme, right?

And Bell being the showman he is, we’re betting he’ll hit all seven continents.

Ann Curry during one of last year’s ‘Ends of the Earth’ broadcasts from Antarctica.

‘Today’ enjoyed a significant Nielsen bump with last year’s edition. So significant that it re-invigorated the show and triggered a new sense of momentum, according to Bell.

“We’ve run with it ever since. We haven’t looked back.”

Here’s the thing: With NBC already doling out beaucoup bucks for the annual “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?”, how did Bell convince his bosses to underwrite another Rand McNally excursion?

“You’ve got to think big. You’ve got to take chances,” says Bell over eggs Benedict in Philadelphia, site of today’s remote broadcast.

“You don’t want to sit back and chat with some Congressman every day. Our mission is to be bold.”