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SBD/February 12, 2014/Olympics
Sight For Sore Eyes: Bob Costas To Miss A Second Night Of Olympic Coverage
Published February 12, 2014
GETTING THE CALL: It was about 5:00pm in Sochi yesterday when Costas called Bell and told him he could not host that night’s broadcast. Bell immediately texted Lauer, who was on the air on "Today." Bell wrote, “Congratulations. You’re on today.” Lauer finished the “Today” show and spent the evening preparing to host his first primetime Olympics broadcast by watching video of old primetime shows. “He hadn’t been able to watch them and wanted to get a sense of it,” Bell said. “He kind of poured himself into it for the next couple of hours and then we put on the show. He was great last night. He was incredible.” "Matt’s the ultimate team player and consummate professional,” said NBC Sports Chair Mark Lazarus. “He’s filled in more than ably. And any number of people could have filled in -- Dan (Patrick) or Al Michaels, Brian Williams -- any of the Mount Rushmore of broadcasters at the company. Matt did an excellent job and will do it again tonight” (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).
NOT SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE: The Birmingham News' Jon Solomon addressed Lauer's performance on his Twitter feed last night and wrote, "Serviceable. Didn't really notice him so that was a positive. Better than how he did at opening ceremony." But Sports Media Watch's Paulsen wrote, "Boy, Matt Lauer is not nearly as good as Costas when it comes to narration." The Washington Post's Cindy Boren wrote, "More Matt Lauer isn't going to please everyone."
WHAT ABOUT BOB? The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Tim Goodman wrote hosting the Games is "not an easy gig -- especially when the prepackaged primetime coverage has so many detractors to begin with" -- and high-profile announcing assignments "come with all kinds of built-in criticism." But Costas "always has been supremely good at what he does -- he's quick on his feet, he can ask the tough questions, he can be funny without seeming like he's pulling a muscle to make a joke, and he's self-deprecating." He also is "extremely knowledgeable" about the Games and "loves much of the arcane tidbits that come out of these competitive events." Goodman: "I can't imagine going through an Olympics without him" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 2/11). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes Costas has been "roundly praised (by us included) for his early self-deprecating take on how he looked wearing his 'Sherman and Peabody' spectacles." Yet when he "brought it up a couple of more times, we wondered if he was more concerned about the infection or how he looked?" Costas had "made his point, humorously.'" Raissman: "Why not just let it go and move on?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/12).
LATE-NIGHT LAUGHS: Costas' eye infection was talked about on several late-night talk shows last night. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart said, "We wanted to wish good health to young Bob Costas. Young Bob Costas dropped out of tonight's Olympics coverage due to a nasty eye infection, and I told him before he left, I said, 'Bob, do not wash your face with the water.' But Bob's all like, 'I'm eight-time Sportscaster of the Year Bob Costas. Surely my eyes are impervious to Russian toxins.' Look at the poor eye. He's a good man, we're going to help him out. So to lift some of the burden from Bob's pink, goopy shoulders, here is tonight's 'The Daily Show' Olympics moment." A video was aired of the five Olympic rings, with the bottom two featuring extremely red eyeballs, to which Stewart said, "That doesn't seem very sensitive" ("The Daily Show," Comedy Central, 2/11). ABC's Jimmy Kimmel said, "When the Games started he had an infection in his eye. It spread to his other eye. Turned out to be a serious case of pink eye, which is a problem because Vladimir Putin now thinks his eyes are gay and wants them removed. But the infection got so bad Matt Lauer had to fill in for him tonight. Also, there were signs all over the Olympic Village that say, 'Don't Touch Bob Costas,' which is embarrassing. This is the first time since 1988 that Bob Costas has not hosted the primetime Olympic telecast, but the good news is his hair is still perfect" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 2/11).