Bob Costas, NBC‘s primetime and late-night Olympics anchor, is out a second day — felled by swollen, weepy eyes. “I don’t know if I’m the first person to break it to you, but you’re coming out of the bullpen again tonight, Matt,” Costas phoned in to Matt Lauer this morning during the What’s Trending portion of Today show in Sochi. Costas and his pink-ish, teary eyes had been trending for a while — Costas having shown up last Thursday to anchor early Games coverage sporting a badly swollen left eye, glasses, and an apology to viewers. Tuesday was a big/bad day for NBC, with both Costas and Shaun White suffering the end of their streaks. White, who NBC had hoped would be its Big Story of the Sochi Games, lost out on his bid for a third consecutive gold in the halfpipe, going home with no medals from Sochi; Costas ended his uninterrupted run as anchor of NBC’s Olympics broadcasts since the late ’80s.
Lauer made his debut as fill-in anchor last night, telling viewers Costas’ eyes were so infected he looked like the loser in a prize fight. “How are you doing? So many people are rooting for you and worrying about you a little bit,” Savannah Guthrie asked Costas this morning — after noting Lauer’s “great reviews” for replacing him.
“I don’t feel that bad,” Costas insisted. “The irony of it is, we’ve all felt bad — worse than I feel right now — and gone to work. We’re lucky to have the jobs we have. I’ve done a lot of ballgames and events feeling much less than my best. But in this case, it’s involuntary. It’s an eye infection, and my eyes are so blurry and watery, and have become so light sensitive, that even in dim light they’re constantly tearing up. And so, I can’t possibly be in the studio. It’s not a case of just saying ‘Oh, what the heck — I’ll go in, not feeling well’.”
“In return, I promise to step in on the next 10 [Today show segments] Steals and Deals, and Ambush Makeovers,” Costas snarked.
“Deal,” Lauer said. “Let me say it again: ‘We’ll see you tomorrow’. Love you.”
Not so fast, Matt. CBS News – among the TV news outlets looking to get in on this trending Bob Costas’ Eyes story, reports the Centers for Disease Control says that when it comes to pinkeye, aka conjunctivitis, “typically the infection will start in one eye and spread to the other within days, and clears up without causing long-term problems – within one or two weeks.”
Meanwhile, Fox News Channel’s The Five gang wished Costas well as he deals with his eye affliction – except Greg Gutfeld, who took Costas to task for having tossed back a shot of vodka on air, during his last night on the air and quipping, “My eyes can’t get any redder….Tomorrow morning I’ll be lying on a curb in Minsk.”
“He’s playing into a stereotype of Russia,” Gutfeld tsk-tsk-ed. “If he was in Jamaica, would he smoke a joint?”