Meredith Vieira will fill in as host of the Sochi Olympics for Bob Costas due to an eye infection the sports caster has been battling. Meredith took his place on Friday, but NBC fears Costas’ illness may linger, forcing the network to shut him down completely and install Vieira in his spot for the remainder of the Sochi Olympics.
Meredith is actually making a bit of history by hosting the Olympics, as she is the first woman to serve as host. Women have served as commentators, but none have ever sat in the seat Vieira now occupies. She isn’t gloating, however, and hopes her time is cut short, saying she’ll host for “as many days as they ask me to, but I hope Bob is back tomorrow.”
NBC executive producer Jim Bell is responsible for putting Meredith Vieira in Bob Costas’ seat, noting that, “For someone with an infection in both eyes and sensitive to light, a TV studio is a lousy place to be.”
“He’s frustrated, of course, to have this happen but appreciative of the support he’s been getting both internally and externally,” Bell adds. “His spirits, relatively speaking and all things considered, are pretty good.”
Bell also remarked that TODAY Show co-anchor Matt Lauer needs a break. Since Bob Costas’ illness he has filled in for him at night, has made himself available for stunts like riding the luge, and has managed to maintain his seat on The TODAY Show, too.
Bell’s decision makes sense, as Meredith Vieira has been a staple at the Sochi Olympics already–interviewing several of the top athletes both before and at the games.
— Meredith Vieira (@meredithvieira) February 11, 2014
Meredith was open about her security fears at the Olympics–as voiced in the video clip above–but said she believed the Russian government was doing everything possible to keep athletes and spectators safe during their time in Sochi.
It will be fun to see Meredith Vieira make a bit of history at the Sochi Olympics, but fans no doubt wish Bob Costas a speedy recovery as well.
Image via Twitter