It’s an awards ceremony that’s will see Ted Turner take home a Lifetime Achievement Award and ESPN hard pressed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. With a lead almost double its nearest competitor, the cable channel scored 30 noms from NATAS today as the 35th Annual Sports Emmy Awards nominations were announced. Fox is in second place with 18 noms, while HBO has 15, NBC and NBC Sports Network pulled in 14 nominations each and MLB Network got a lucky 13. Overall, ESPN’s various channels and platforms got 46 noms while NBC Sports Group snagged 33 and CBS-owned channels got 18 nominations. The Sports Emmys has 39 categories including Outstanding Live Sports Special, Outstanding Live Sports Series, Outstanding Playoff Coverage, Outstanding Sports Documentary and Outstanding Sports Journalism. Coming off a Winter Olympics in which he was laid low by an eye infection, NBC’s Bob Costas is nominated in the Sports Personality – Studio Host Category along with CBS/Showtime’s James Brown, CBS’ Greg Gumbel, Golf Channel’s David Feherty and network multitasker Dan Patrick, who appears on NBC, NBCSN and DirecTV. With America’s Cup winner, former Atlanta Braves owner and CNN founder Turner getting the Lifetime Achievement honor, the Sports Emmys winners will be announced May 6 at the Time Warner Center in NYC. In the meantime, check out the full list of nominations here.
What with the recently wrapped Winter Olympics competition results being known well in advance of NBC‘s various Olympics broadcasts, and the United States coming in fourth in number of gold medals scored, behind Russia (13), Norway (11), and Canada (10) (U.S. was No. 2 in overall medal count, behind Russia), many of NBC’s most buzz-worthy Sochi moments were all about — NBC. Which, presumably, is the future of broadcast network primetime Games coverage. How successful was NBC? Here’s a look at the 4 Big NBC Moments At Sochi:
“I’m Bob Costas, sitting in tonight for Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira,” Costas joked when he finally returned as NBC’s Primetime Games anchor after six days on the sick list while doctors treated his Twitter-trending double eye infection. The incident was historic, because it broke Costas’ 14-year Olympic anchoring streak and Vieira became the first woman ever to get the gig, if only temporarily.
Bode Miller’s Tears
When Olympian Bode Miller doubled over weeping as NBC peppered him with questions about his dead brother, after winning the Super-G bronze medal, social media response was savage. NBC Olympics EP Jim Bell insisted it would have been “irresponsible” of the network not to have asked Miller about his brother, who died in April, after setting up that storyline before Bode’s run. But what saved NBC, ironically, was Miller coming to the network’s rescue the next morning on Today show, saying interviewer Christin Cooper is “a sweetheart of a person” who he knows “didn’t mean to push” adding, “I do not blame her at all. I feel terrible that she’s taking the heat for that.” For years NBC has used this super-personal strategy in its Olympics coverage, thinking it connects viewers with the athletes and the Games. Also at Sochi, Meredith Vieira asked silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago and the role it played in her decision to come back from Olympics retirement.
UPDATE, 2:07 PM: ESPN responded to a question asking what is the plan while Keith Olbermann is out sick with a statement from Olbermann: “I’m day to day. We’re all day to day.” We hear Quinn is filling in — at least tonight.
PREVIOUS, 11:50 AM: First Bob Costas was felled by pink eye – now Keith Olbermann has succumbed to shingles. Viewers who learned the ESPN host was out Wednesday night may have thought “here we go again” but Olbermann took to Twitter today to assure them he’s not engaged in another death match with his employer – he’s suffering from shingles, suggesting it was fate’s way of punishing him for falling out of the 25-54 demographic last week when he celebrated his 55th birthday. Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash and that is itself caused by the chickenpox virus that stays in the body for years. In 2003, CBS late night star David Letterman was out for about a month with shingles.
UPDATE, 5 PM PT: “Welcome to NBC’s primetime coverage on this Monday — I’m Bob Costas, sitting in tonight for Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira,” Costas joked at the top of tonight’s NBC primetime Sochi Olympics coverage. He was returning to Games coverage for the first time after nearly a week off while doctors treated an infection in both of his eyes. A few moments later, more seriously, he offered “sincere thanks to Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira – two friends and true pros who stepped in for me on short notice. My thanks as well to all of you who expressed your concern, and my apologies to everyone for the unavoidable but uncomfortable circumstance of a broadcasters ill-timed affliction getting in the way, even for just a few moments, for what we all came here for – the Olympic Games.”
PREVIOUS, 12:02 PM: “Our long nightmare is over,” NBC Olympics EP Jim Bell said this morning to kick off a phone conference call with the media in re Bob Costas’ return to the network’s primetime Sochi Olympics coverage. Costas returned to the NBC Olympics studios at the International Broadcast Center in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday to prepare to resume his primetime and late-night hosting duties tonight. Costas is better, but his eye condition still is noticeable and he will wear glasses again. On today’s phone call, Costas joked of his eyes, “It won’t look as bad as it did the last night I was on the air, and probably it will look better 10 days from now — but the Olympics will be over.” His absence, since last Tuesday, ended his streak of 157 consecutive appearances as NBC’s Olympics anchor in primetime; it was the first time since 1988 that Costas had not hosted the primetime coverage.
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Bob Costas Returns To Sochi Olympics Coverage Monday (Photo)
By Lisa De Moraes – Bob Costas returned to the NBC Olympics studios at the International Broadcast Center in Sochi, Russia, today to prepare to resume his primetime and late night hosting duties tomorrow night.
‘Snake Salvation’ Star Dead From Snake Bite; NatGeo To Air Tribute Episode
By Jen Yamato – With the first season fully filmed National Geographic had no plans for a second season of Snake Salvation, says a network rep. Now in the wake of Jamie Coots‘ death NatGeo is working up a special tribute episode “so people can understand Pastor Jamie and his method of worship and see that he died doing what he believed was his calling.”
Actors Added To Fox’s Matt Hubbard, ABC’s Jeff Lowell Comedy Pilots
By Nellie Andreeva – Ely Henry (Suburgatory) and Asif Ali have been cast as leads in Cabot College, Fox‘s multi-camera comedy pilot from Matt Hubbard, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
R.I.P. ‘The Waltons’ Patriarch Ralph Waite
By The Deadline Team – The man who played the patriarch on CBS’ long-running series The Waltons has died. Ralph Waite was 85. He also had been recurring since 2008 as Papa Gibbs, the father of Mark Harmon’s character, on NCIS.
Greta Gerwig To Topline CBS’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Spinoff
By Nellie Andreeva – Indie darling Greta Gerwig will lead the cast of How I Met Your Dad, CBS’ spinoff from long-running comedy series How I Met Your Mother.
Bob Costas returned to the NBC Olympics studios at the International Broadcast Center in Sochi, Russia, today to prepare to resume his primetime and late night hosting duties tomorrow night. Matt Lauer is back tonight as NBC’s Sochi Olympics primetime anchor for one more night before Costas returns to NBC’s air. Costas, who has battled an infection that began in his left eye and quickly spread to the right soldiered on the first few days of the network’s Sochi coverage before calling Lauer in from the “bullpen” on Tuesday. In interviews, Costas said the studio lights made it impossible for him to continue working with the eye condition.
Costas is better, but his eye condition is still noticeable and he will wear glasses again tomorrow night, an NBC Sports rep said today. Costas was at the NBC studio in Sochi today for about two hours, seeing how the light affects his eyes and having meetings to discuss his return tomorrow. His absence last week ended his streak of 157 consecutive appearances as NBC’s Olympics anchor in primetime; it was the first time since 1988 Costas had not hosted the primetime coverage.
Lauer last week pulled double duty for three days, co-anchoring Today from Sochi while also filling in for Costas in primetime. Meredith Vieira stepped in Friday and Saturday, becoming the first woman ever to anchor NBC’s Games coverage in primetime.
Matt Lauer is back as Bob Costas‘ fill-in tonight as NBC’s Sochi Olympics primetime anchor, after Meredith Vieira did the subbing two nights and made TV history. NBC Sports still says Costas is “day to day.” Lauer last week pulled double duty for three days, co-anchoring Today from Sochi while also filling in for Costas in primetime. Costas is battling an infection in both eyes. Late last week, Costas told Ryan Seacrest in a radio interview he hoped to be back in the studio over the weekend. That’s not going to happen, which is sure to raise questions as to whether Costas will be able to return to the anchor desk before the Games wrap. Last Friday, NBC’s Olympics EP Jim Bell brushed off press suggestions the network might be ready to “shut down” Costas as its primetime anchor. “Getting into next week, it may become a topic of conversation, but we’re not there,” Bell said Friday.
This morning, NBC Sports was still saying “day to day” in response to questions about Costas’s condition and odds of return. In various interviews last week, Costas said he feels okay but can’t come back to work because of the specific nature of his eye infection — in some reports suggesting studio lighting, and makeup, may have exacerbated his condition.
Costas continues to deal with the effects of the infection that began in his left eye and spread to his …
Meredith Vieira To Anchor Second Night Of NBC’s Primetime Sochi Games Coverage As Bob Costas Recovers
Meredith Vieira will host NBC’s primetime coverage of the Sochi Olympics again tonight. Last night she made history, becoming the first woman to ever anchor NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage. She’s filling in for Bob Costas, whose eye condition is “improving” but is still “day to day,” NBC Sports told Deadline. Vieira, who’d been brought to Sochi to co-host the Opening Ceremony with Matt Lauer and has since been doing segments for Today on U.S. athletes to watch at the Games, was tapped yesterday to replace Costas as the network’s primetime Games anchor. She took over for Lauer, who’d pulled double duty for three days. Costas still is battling an infection in both eyes that makes studio lighting his enemy, though he too may have made TV history: first anchor on record with Twitter trending eyes.
NBC’s Games EP Jim Bell said in a phoner with the press Friday that Vieira was likely on duty for two nights as Costas continues to recover from pink eye. Bell called her the best choice for the gig among a considerable stable of talent at Sochi because her schedule was most flexible. For a TV veteran whose new syndicated daytime talk show is set to launch in the fall, the Sochi exposure is a gift. Before Costas, former Today anchor Bryant Gumbel served as primetime host of NBC’s Olympic coverage and …
UPDATE, 6:30 PM: “At an Olympics, there is no way to know what will happen at the moment everything matters most — no guarantee you’ll turn all that preparation into perfection,” Meredith Vieira said tonight at the International Broadcast Center in Sochi as she kicked off NBC’s primetime broadcast of Olympics competition held earlier in the day. The comment was particularly appropriate under the circumstances: Vieira, who’d been brought to Sochi to co-host the Opening Ceremony with Matt Lauer and had been doing segments for Today on U.S. athletes to watch at the Games since, was tapped to replace Bob Costas as the network’s primetime Games anchor, taking over for Lauer, who’d pulled double duty for three days. Costas still is battling an infection in both eyes that makes studio lighting his enemy.
Vieira is on duty for at least one night – possibly two, according to NBC’s Games EP Jim Bell, who called her the best choice for the gig among a considerable stable of talent at Sochi because her schedule was most flexible. For a TV veteran whose new syndicated daytime talk show is set to launch in the fall, the Sochi exposure is a gift. Before Costas, former Today anchor Bryant Gumbel served as primetime host of NBC’s Olympic coverage and was preceded by Curt Gowdy and Bill Henry, making Vieira the first woman to do the job. Hannah Storm, Mary Carillo, Gayle Gardner and Jane Pauley have previously hosted NBC’s daytime and late-night Olympic coverage.
“It’s so funny, I woke up this morning and I was feeling fine, and now my eyes are killing me,” Vieira joshed on Today this morning when her new assignment was announced. “I watched you guys [Lauer and Al Roker] attempt the luge. I think I’m going blind.”
Bob Costas Out Third Day At Sochi But Hopes To Return By Weekend; Matt Lauer Back In Primetime Tonight
Bob Costas has had to call in sick a third day at Sochi. NBC Sports tweeted this morning that Costas, who’d been missing from the past two days of Olympics broadcasts owing to a nasty case of pinkeye, will sit out tonight’s primetime coverage. Once again, NBC News’ Matt Lauer will step in. “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,” Costas told Ryan Seacrest on his radio program this morning, adding, “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.” Seacrest, like Costas, is part of NBCU-parent Comcast’s family — hence the interview going to Seacrest. Comcast calls it “symphony.”
Costas, NBC‘s primetime and late-night Olympics anchor, has been absent from NBC’s Games broadcasts since Tuesday, when his Twitter-trending swollen pink eyes forced him into what he called “involuntary” absence. Costas, via telephone, explained on NBC’s Today show his eyes had become so “blurry and watery…and so light sensitive” even dim light caused them to start weeping, making it impossible for him to work in the studio.
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.
UPDATE: Matt Lauer Shuns Bob Costas’ Vodka-Shot Therapy As He Fills In On NBC’s Primetime Olympics Coverage
UPDATE, 5:50 PM PT: “We’re back now with a good opportunity to welcome in our Mary Carillo, and she’s about to bring us our nightly dose of Russian culture and no vodka tonight – please. You saw what happened last night,” Matt Lauer joked tonight as he fills in for Bob Costas on NBC‘s primetime Olympics coverage. He’s referring to the previous night’s primetime coverage when Costas abandoned NBC doctors’ treatment for his ever-worsening eye infections, and went instead with vodka, telling Carillo during one of her Russian-culture segments as he downed what was billed as a good-ish dose of the Russian booze: “My eyes can’t get any redder.” Polishing off his drink, he predicted, “Tomorrow morning I’ll be lying on a curb in Minsk.”
PREVIOUS, 4:30 PM PT: “I’m Matt Lauer, in for Bob Costas tonight. If you’ve been following along the last several days you know Bob’s been battling — and that’s an understatement — an eye infection that’s traveled a little bit,” Lauer said at the top of tonight’s NBC primetime coverage of Tuesday competition. ” I saw him in the hotel this morning — he looked a little like the loser in a prize fight.”
Walking up to the primetime coverage, NBC’s evening newscaster Brian Williams told viewers, “Bob Costas took himself out of the lineup for tonight as he deals with that eye infection,” ending a “Ripkin-like iron man streak of 157 straight primetime Olympics broadcasts that goes back to Barcelona in ’92.”
UPDATE, 8:30 AM: NBC has issued a news release about Bob Costas’ decision to end his streak of 157 nights of Olympics coverage. The network reiterated what Costas announced this morning on Today: that Matt Lauer will host NBC’s Olympic primetime and late-night shows tonight in place of Costas, who has an eye infection. In the news release, Costas says he bowed out tonight because, “as a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light.” He added: “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.”
Tonight marks the first time since CBS presented the Nagano Olympic Winter Games in 1998 that someone other than Costas will host an Olympics primetime show. It’s also the first time since 1988 that someone other than Costas will host the Olympic primetime show on NBC — a remarkable 157 straight nights. “I’m happy to keep his chair warm. Although I might Purell it before I sit in it!” Lauer said in the announcement, which noted Costas is listed as ‘day to day’ on the NBC injury report.
Costas’ full statement:
Two days after announcing it had hired New Yorker editor (and former Washington Post Moscow bureau chief) David Remnick to provide guest commentary on the network’s air during its coverage of the upcoming Sochi Winter Games, NBCUniversal announced it had hired Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Pozner as a correspondent for its Olympics coverage in Sochi. Pozner will appear with Bob Costas on a late-night program, offering a Russian perspective of the Games, the company said.
“With his deep Russian roots and American upbringing, Vladimir Pozner is uniquely qualified to provide a Russian outlook to our audience during the Sochi Olympics,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics, in this morning’s announcement, calling this “another significant moment in Russia’s history.” Costas, know for his outspoken commentary, recently told The Associated Press he won’t comment on Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law that’s causing people to protest NBC’s participation in the upcoming Games because he’s hoping to land an interview with what AP called “responsible people.”
Pozner’s a controversial guy. About a year ago, Radio Free Europe reported he’d blasted the state of justice in Russia, over the abduction and alleged torture of opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev, as well as the prison sentences of Pussy Riot members. He’s not controversy-free in this country either. Pozner’s U.S. media experience, NBCU noted, includes co-hosting Pozner/Donahue – a syndicated weekly, issues-oriented roundtable program that aired on CNBC from 1991-1996 – and numerous appearances across the landscape, including NBC’s Today, and ABC’s Nightline.
Here’s what Nightline’s original anchor, Ted Koppel had to say, in 2004, about Pozner’s first appearance on the newsmag on January 23, 1980, ” the night of what would turn out to be Jimmy Carter’s last State of the Union Address.” when the Soviet Army had recently invaded Afghanistan…and Carter had some tough things to say about that.
“We turned to someone who was described to us as a Radio Moscow Commentator. His name … Vladimir Pozner,” Koppel said. His comments, on ABC’s website, are followed by an excerpt of Pozner’s appearance on Nightline that night:
POZNER: You realize that I do not agree with what you call an invasion. I’m very happy to have the opportunity to say our viewpoint, and I want to thank you for it.
TED KOPPEL: Please do.
POZNER: The Soviet Union, as you know, has agreements with Afghanistan and sent in military aid at request of the Afghanistan government. We do not see that at all as an invasion. But, as simply, honoring our commitment. And I’d like to make that absolutely clear.
Koppel added, in 2004: “It used to drive my colleague George Will crazy when I introduced Vladimir Pozner as a Soviet Journalist. ‘It’s a contradiction in terms,’ George would insist. ‘The Soviet Union doesn’t have journalists in the sense that we do.’ And he was right.”
NBC announced how it intends to handle coverage of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law during its coverage of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi: guest commentary. Sorry, Bob Costas. The network announced this morning it has hired New Yorker editor (and former Washington Post Moscow bureau chief) David Remnick to provide guest commentary on the network’s air during its coverage of the Games. Remnick, will contribute to NBC’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony and will offer commentary for NBC News in Sochi, the network said.
“We are facing an Olympics that have a number of issues around them — substantial, meaty, news issues,” NBC’s Olympics exec producer Jim Bell told Sports Illustrated over the weekend. “For us to be able to have an opportunity to address them with someone like David made perfect sense. We would be remiss not to rely on some of the best and brightest minds to help present this to our viewers the right way.”
Added Remnick: “I think they want to have someone who has a familiarity with Russian politics and culture, various controversies, Vladimir Putin and all these questions I have stepped in for a very long time.” Bell said Remnick will kick off his in-Games commentary during the “creative part” of the opening ceremonies. Remnick served as a Moscow bureau chief for The Washington Post and he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his book Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days Of The …
Bob Costas will host the network’s primetime and late night coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games in February. No big surprise there — Costas has served as primetime host for every Olympics on NBC since 1992. But it’s only the second time he’s hosted both in primetime and late night (he did same during the 2000 Sydney Olympics). With the 2014 assignment, he becomes U.S. television’s first 10-time Olympic primetime host. The previous record-holder, Jim McKay, hosted eight times for ABC. (Costas served as NBC’s late night host at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.)
In today’s announcement, Costas, who has the longest tenure of the network’s sports announcers (34 years), called the Olympics “a three-week miniseries which, if done well, should bring viewers not only compelling athletic performances, but a sense of the host city and country, and an appreciation of what is a truly global gathering.”
The no-holds-barred critic and sports host has already tongue-lashed his own network NBC. (Is Bob Costas TV’s Most Powerful Man?) Now he’s starting on competitors. On Friday he excoriated CBS for ignoring the Augusta National Golf Club’s legacy of excluding black and female members from its ranks. “What no CBS commentator has ever alluded to, even in passing, even during a rain delay, even when there was time to do so, is Augusta’s history of racism and sexism. Even when people were protesting just outside the grounds — forget about taking a side — never acknowledging it… I just think somebody ought to have had the guts to do it along the way… Broadcaster, executive, somebody”. CBS has exclusively covered the Masters since 1956. Here’s Costas unloading on the Dan Patrick Show:
These days, when most TV folks express personal comments on-air they have to apologize so they can keep their jobs. Bob Costas is not one of those people. The NBC broadcaster’s latest show of ultimate power (remember when he bashed his own network’s Olympics coverage on Conan?) came this weekend when he weighed in on the subject of gun control during Sunday Night Football. (See the video below.) Costas was commenting on Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who shot and killed his girlfriend and then himself on Saturday morning. Afterward, Costas told The New York Times he received a barrage of text and phone messages about his editorializing – but “I am emphatically not backing off from anything I said… I do not think the Second Amendment should be repealed and I do not think, under reasonable circumstances, that people should be prohibited from having guns.” But, “I think most reasonable people think we do not have sufficient controls on the availability of guns and ammunition.” So far not a peep out of NBC over Costas holding firm. Here’s what he said in the first place: