Meredith Vieira Replaces Bob Costas as Olympics Host Battles Eye Woes

Image: Meredith Vieira Replaces Bob Costas as Olympics Host Battles Eye Woes

Friday, 14 Feb 2014 01:15 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Meredith Vieira will become the first woman ever to host NBC's primetime Olympics broadcast by herself Friday night when she stands in for Bob Costas, who is still recovering from an eye infection.

Costas, a veteran NBC sportscaster, was forced to find a replacement earlier this week when he developed an eye infection that affected his vision. "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer has anchored the broadcast since Tuesday, but Vieira will take over Friday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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"Bob's eye issue has improved but he’s not quite ready to do the show," Olympics executive producer Jim Bell told Today.com Thursday. "If your eyes are sensitive to bright lights, a TV studio is not the place to be."

Tuesday marked the first time since 1988 that Costas did not host an NBC primetime Olympic broadcast. And, The Reporter noted, even though Hannah Storm, Jane Pauley, Mary Carillo, and Gayle Gardner previously hosted NBC's daytime and late-night Olympic coverage, Friday will mark the first time a female has ever anchored the broadcast solo.

Vieira is reportedly stepping in for Lauer because he is "exhausted" by working the "Today" show in the mornings and the Olympics at night.

"I'm dragging a little today, I didn't sleep at all since yesterday morning," Lauer told Today.com on Friday. "Meredith's fantastic, she'll be great, she really will, and I know she's going to have a blast. It's fun!"

Costas said he hopes to be back to work sometime this weekend.

"In sports, there's a term that they use for people who are on the injured list — they say, 'He's day-to-day.' And I am day-to-day," Costas said Thursday on Ryan Seacrest's radio show. "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."

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