Matt Lauer may be a sight for sore eyes, as far as Bob Costas is concerned.
Following up on what was talked about on TODAY this morning, NBC has sent out a media advisory announcing that on Feb. 11, Matt Lauer will be hosting NBC’s Winter Olympics primetime and late-night shows in place of Bob Costas, who has been battling an eye infection. NBC says that this breaks Costas’ hosting streak of 157 consecutive Olympic primetime shows on the network.
UPDATE 2/12/14: NBC Sports PR tweeted out that Costas will be resting again the night of Feb. 12, with Lauer again filling in.
UPDATE 2/13/14: NBC has announced that Lauer will again be filling in for Costas on Feb. 13.
UPDATE 2/14/14: As Costas continues to heal, Meredith Vieira will fill in as host on Feb. 14, with Lauer getting the night off.
UPDATE 2/17/14: Bob Costas returns to the primetime and late-night hosting chair on Feb. 17.
Costas’ ailment started out in one eye, but has worsened and is now affecting both eyes, and to any viewer he clearly looks miserable.
“As a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light,” the advisory quoted Costas as saying. “I’m hopeful the symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast. Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors.”
Per NBC, tonight marks the first time since CBS presented the Winter Olympics in 1998 that someone other than Costas will host an Olympic primetime show, and is the first time since 1988 that someone other than Costas will host the Olympic primetime show on NBC, specifically.
“Bob has been a real trooper, but needs a night off,” said NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell in the release. “We’re fortunate to have such incredible talent to draw upon within the NBCU family, including Matt, someone I’ve worked with for many years. Now I know how Chuck Daly felt with the 1992 Dream Team, substituting one Hall of Famer for another.”
“I saw Bob in the hotel this morning, and if ever there was a guy who looked like he needed a night off, it was him,” said Matt Lauer. “I’m happy to keep his chair warm. Although I might Purell it before I sit in it!”
The mood was kept light later in the release, when NBC quipped: “Costas is listed as ‘day to day’ on the NBC injury report.”
Full statement from Bob Costas on his health, sent out by NBC today:
“It was becoming increasingly noticeable and uncomfortable, but if it was just that, I would have continued. We in broadcasting are lucky to have the jobs we do, and at one time or another, we’ve all gone on the air feeling less than our best.
“The difference is that last night and into this morning, it got to the point where, as a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light.
“If it was just discomfort, I’d be there. I’m receiving excellent treatment … it’s a viral infection, and all you can do is try to manage the symptoms while the virus runs its course. But I’m hopeful that those symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast.
“Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors.”