UPDATE: NBC Olympics EP Jim Bell Defends Bode Miller Interview About Dead Brother That Brought Him To Tears (Video)

By | Monday February 17, 2014 @ 10:50am PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198UPDATE: 10:45 AM: NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell said this morning it would have been “irresponsible” of NBC had the network not asked U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller questions about his dead brother, and U.S. skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace questions about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago, during its coverage of the two athletes’ respective medal wins. Bell insisted he’d do the same if covering any other sport, but that it’s especially important with “Olympics particularly, because people don’t know these athletes…It’s a bigger responsibility to share” this personal information, he insisted, in order “to get viewers to connect with those athletes…and their sports.”

bodemiller1Bell said he understood the reaction to particularly the Miller interview, and the public’s tendency to “take to Twitter to vent a little about it.” In the interview, conducted after Bode’s bronze medal Super-G run on Sunday and run at length during NBC’s primetime coverage last night, Olympics reporter Christin Cooper asked him multiple questions about his brother, as Bode choked up, and only ended when Bode doubled over weeping, then walked away. Bode’s brother died in April of an apparent seizure that may have been connected to a motorcycle accident.

In a phone call with press this morning, Bell maintained that, the “storyline about Bode” had been set up on the network’s Olympics broadcast the night before the interview, and he “felt it was important to finish it up.” He noted Miller himself took to Twitter to defend Cooper and that Bode had come on NBC’s Today this morning to tell viewers he did not blame her for the questions. “He said he thought it was fine and he stood by her,” Bell said, adding that should “take some of the temperature down on” the kerfuffle over that interview and the interview Meredith Vieira did with Pikus-Pace in which she asked the athlete about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago. Bell, who was on the phoner to talk about Bob Costas’ return to the air tonight — a subject that quickly got overshadowed by questions about the Miller and Pikus-Pace interviews — said  “the way it played out was fine.”

In a statement about the Bode interview issued after Bode appeared on Today show,  NBC said: “Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal.  We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far, but it was our judgment that his answers were a necessary part of the story. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”

PREVIOUS, 6:10 AM: NBC This morning asked Bodenbcsochi__131202172913 Miller, in so many words, to come to the defense of its Olympics reporter Christin Cooper, who has been under fire since she caused Olympic skier to double over and weep, with repeated questions about his brother’s death during an interview. (Watch after the jump).

Cooper has taken a lot of heat for going way too far in that interview she did with Miller after he won a bronze medal in the men’s Super-G ski race Sunday. Cooper became a Twitter trending topic – and not in a good way — almost immediately after it aired in full during NBC’s primetime coverage of the interview.  “We’re not done until you sob, Bode!” said one tweeter, pretending to be an NBC Sports exec. Read More »

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Matt Lauer Back As Sochi Olympics Primetime Anchor; Bob Costas Still “Day To Day”

By | Sunday February 16, 2014 @ 7:10am PST

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 nbcsochi__131202172913__140212145821Costas is “day to day.” Lauer last … Read More »

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UPDATE: Sochi Olympics Ratings Hit Low On Valentine’s Day; Down From Vancouver 2010 But Even With Torino 2006

By | Saturday February 15, 2014 @ 1:26pm PST

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UPDATE, 1:26 PM: Virginia may be for lovers but the Olympics are not when it comes to ratings. The final numbers for NBC’s primetime coverage last night of the Winter Games are in and the traditionally slow TV night … Read More »

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Meredith Vieira To Anchor Second Night Of NBC’s Primetime Sochi Games Coverage As Bob Costas Recovers

By | Saturday February 15, 2014 @ 8:20am PST

Meredith Vieira will host NBC’sMeredithVieira110913221045-275x275 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 Read More »

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UPDATE: Meredith Vieira Steps In For Bob Costas At Sochi Games, Makes TV History

By | Friday February 14, 2014 @ 6:34pm PST

MeredithVieira110913221045-275x275UPDATE, 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.

Related: Sochi Olympics’ First Wednesday Ratings Free-Fall From 2010

nbcsochi__131202172913__140212145821Vieira 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.” Read More »

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‘The Meredith Vieira Show’ Now Sold In More Than 85% Of Country

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 7:09am PST

New station groups signing on to air what’s being called the biggest new syndicated entry for MeredithVieirathe fall  include Dispatch, Belo, Nexstar, Bonten, Mission, Local, Citadel, Media General, Block, News Press Gazette and Sarkes Tarzian. They join NBC’s 10 O&O stations … Read More »

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Meredith Vieira, Jay Leno Plug NBC’s Games Coverage With Hopes Of Demonstrations, Comparisons To Nazi Germany: Video

By | Tuesday December 17, 2013 @ 6:18am PST

Meredith Vieira joined Jay Leno on his NBC late night show to plug their network’s upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics coverage. Vieira, who has an NBCU daytime talk show launching in the fall, spoke of mixed feelings about participating in Games coverage owing to Russia’s anti-gay legislation, her hopes … Read More »

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‘The Meredith Vieira Show’ Sold In More Than 60% Of U.S.

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 6:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The biggest new syndicated entry for next fall so far, NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution’s The Meredith Vieira Show, has been cleared in more than 60% of the U.S. That includes the launch group of the NBC … Read More »

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It’s Valerie Harper Week On Broadcast TV

In what was supposed to be a big fat plug for NBC, Meredith Vieira and Today, that network announced this morning that Valerie’s Story: A Meredith Vieira Special, will premiere Thursday. Harper will be a guest on NBC’s Today that morning.Read More »

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Joy Behar Bids Farewell To ‘The View’ (VIDEO)

Elisabeth Hasselbeck was notably missing as the last of Barbara Walters’ original Ladies of The View bid the show adieu today in a mostly-older-star-strewn, pre-recorded episode. Joy Behar was feted for her more than 16 seasons on the daytime gab-fest that’s undergoing major re-casting as it competes with a slew of copycats. Among those putting in appearances, in person or via recorded message on the episode: Mario Cantone, Joan Rivers, Nathan Lane, Jane Lynch, Steve Martin, Carol Burnett, Debbie Reynolds, Toni Bennett (who performed his standard, The Good Life), and Regis Philbin, who as Babs told it, took her to hear Behar’s nightclub act, which led to Behar’s hire. “For years she has been proving how right I was” for the decision…I discovered Joy Behar!” Babs said — Of course she did! Read More »

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Jeff Zucker On ‘Today’: It’s The Talent, Stupid

Don’t tinker with the Today Show lineup — fix the talent non-chemistry, the franchise’s former exec producer Jeff Zucker advised NBC today. “The key to all of those programs, and we … Read More »

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New Meredith Vieira Syndicated Daytime Show To Launch In 2014

Look out Katie CouricNBCUniversal announced today it’s launching a syndicated talker starring your most successful Today show replacement to date, Meredith Vieira. The Meredith Vieira Show will debut in fall 2014. Vieira recently shot the pilot for the new series; she had begun talks with NBCU for the project shortly after she announced in January she was leaving Disney’s syndicated game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire after 11 years. Vieira, following in the footsteps of her Today predecessors Jane Pauley and Couric, is expected to do a lighter show than Pauley’s short-lived talker, or Couric’s current Disney syndicated show, playing off Vieira’s 11-year Millionaire run and her years air-traffic controlling on ABC’s gaggle show The View. No pickups were announced today, but the NBC station group has not committed to a new show to succeed freshman Jeff Probst, which did not get renewed, and may keep the 2 PM slot warm with temporary programming. Read More »

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Meredith Vieira To Film NBCU Pilot For Daytime Talk Show Eying Fall 2014 Launch

By | Wednesday May 1, 2013 @ 2:31pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Meredith VieiraAnd we have the first major syndicated talk show contender for fall 2014. Former The View, Today and departing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host Meredith Vieira is set to do a pilot for a … Read More »

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Cedric The Entertainer To Succeed Meredith Vieira As Host Of Syndicated ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’

Nellie Andreeva

Following some chatter during NATPE last week, I have learned that Cedric The Entertainer has closed a three-year deal to replace Meredith Vieira as host the syndicated version of quiz show Who Wants To Read More »

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Meredith Vieira To Host Daytime Talk Show?

Nellie Andreeva

Meredith Vieira recently opted not to renew her contract for syndicated quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire so she could “move on and do other things.” Those other things may be a new daytime talk … Read More »

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Meredith Vieira Leaving Syndicated ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ Series

By | Thursday January 10, 2013 @ 10:01pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Meredith Vieira is departing the syndicated version of quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Vieira has been the host of the syndicated Millionaire since its launch in 2002. This is the final year of Vieira’s current … Read More »

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Investigation Discovery Buys Docu From Meredith Vieira Prods.

By | Wednesday November 16, 2011 @ 9:24am PST

Investigation Discovery has acquired domestic TV rights to the documentary The Woman Who Wasn’t There from Meredith Vieira Productions. The film, which delves into the mind of “history’s most influential 9/11 survivor,” is set to premiere on the network sometime … Read More »

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Meredith Vieira Joins Brian Williams’ NBC Primetime Newsmagazine

Meredith Vieira, who announced in May that she was retiring from her job as Today co-host and signed off in June, isn’t settled into her rocking chair just yet. NBC News said today that Vieira has been named … Read More »

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CANNES: Parties, Pirates, And Fireworks

Pete Hammond

Cannes experienced a huge dose of starpower on its prime Saturday night as the Film Festival hosted the latest premiere following big events at Disneyland and in Moscow for Disney’s summer juggernaut Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. For the out-of-competition event, stars Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Sam Claflin, plus producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Director Rob Marshall, all hit the red carpet. You literally could not navigate the massive crowd scene in front of and surrounding the Palais as this group worked the paparazzi. It drew the biggest throng of fans so far at the Fest, all trying to position themselves to get a glimpse of the stars. Cannes loves photo opps like this and has been actively courting studios to bring their big summer behemoths to the Cote d’Azur in order to guarantee some celeb glitz. With Depp and Cruz tonight, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie making their entrance Monday night for Brad’s Tree of Life premiere, the photogs are having a field day. I  also heard Leonardo DiCaprio hit town this weekend as well. Read More »

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