Vieira To Sub For Costas On Friday, Becoming First Woman To Host Olympics In Primetime
NBC announced that Meredith Vieira will fill in for Bob Costas as host of Friday's primetime and late-night coverage of the Sochi Games. She becomes the first woman in U.S. TV history to serve as solo host of the Olympics in primetime. Vieira joined Matt Lauer in hosting the Sochi Games' Opening Ceremony, reprising her role from the '12 London Games (NBC). Costas said of his eye infection, "I did the first five nights wearing glasses, even though people could see how red and swollen my eyes were. I didn't care because I could still function. I could still read the notes I had to read on the athletes and find my way around the studio. But then in the last 36 hours, it got to the point my vision became so blurry and sensitive to light, I can't even be in regular room light, let alone studio light. I couldn't be of any use to them. ... I am day-to-day. I'm hoping that I'm back by the weekend and I certainly think I'll be able to do the second half of the games. The virus, they tell me, won't run its course for two or three weeks, but the symptoms will crest at their worst and start to get better pretty soon. As soon as the symptoms get to the point where I can be in the studio, I'll be there" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 2/13). Lauer had been filling in for Costas for the last three nights and BLOOMBERG NEWS' Andy Fixmer wrote Lauer "proved a suitable substitute" (BLOOMBERG.com, 2/13). VARIETY's Daniel Goldblatt notes, "Even with Costas out (and the harsh time difference), ratings for the Sochi Winter Olympics have been on par with the ratings for Vancouver four years ago" (VARIETY.com, 2/14).