NBC is making another call to the bullpen for Friday night's primetime Olympic coverage. After three days of Today host Matt Lauer filling in for Bob Costas and his nasty eye infection, Meredith Vieira will take a turn in the anchor's chair. Vieira becomes the first woman to host primetime Olympic coverage for NBC.
Meredith Vieira to host tonight's Olympic primetime and late night shows on NBC. Bob Costas continues to heal. Matt Lauer gets the night off
— NBCSportsPR (@NBCSportsPR) February 14, 2014
After pulling double duty for three days and doing both the morning and primetime shifts for NBC, Lauer told the New York Times, "I can't do this schedule for any prolonged period of time." The decision to move to Vieira makes sense from the standpoint that she doesn't hold a full-time position at NBC covering these Olympics and has served as a special correspondent for NBC News since stepping away from the Today Show in 2011. She also hosted the Opening Ceremony with Lauer at the beginning of the Sochi Olympics. For what it's worth, Costas has gone on record and said he hopes to return to television this weekend.
Once again, NBC has made the choice to go with an experienced morning show anchor instead of one of their many talented sportscasters working the Olympics. All of their four main sports anchors – Dan Patrick, Al Michaels, Rebecca Lowe, or Mary Carillo – would be great choices to pilot the all-important primetime coverage. All four are excellent and better yet, they cover the Olympics on a regular basis. Instead, NBC's choice of Vieira once again shows that primetime coverage isn't about sports, it's about people and human interest stories and how they can best script the games. Primetime coverage is not targeted towards fans of Olympic competition, it's directed towards fans of the Olympic primetime live action miniseries. If you ever needed more confirmation of the primetime Olympics as a television production and not an actual sporting event, NBC passing over their talented sports division twice is it.