In a surprise move, Katie Couric will co-host the Olympic opening ceremony along with Mike Tirico. On Wednesday, NBC Sports announced that Mike Tirico, the new prime-time host, will be hosting alongside Couric, who has not been a regular on NBC since 2011, for the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea.
According to USA Today, Katie Couric revealed that she was asked to co-host “a few weeks ago.”
“During my years at NBC, I loved covering the Olympics and showcasing the hard work, dedication and perseverance of athletes from around the world.”
This comes as a surprise as on Tuesday, it was announced that Megyn Kelly was going to broadcast her show from the Olympics, and then the broadcaster made a turn-around on this decision on the very same day.
Many already consider the decision to bring Couric in to co-host the opening ceremony and leave their new star in New York as controversial. Speaking to an industry insider, Fox News reported that this situation was “definitely a slap in the face to Megyn.”
Another option NBC could have gone with was to invite either one of the Today co-anchors, Hoda Kotb or Savannah Guthrie.
Betsy Rothstein, the editor of the Daily Caller‘s Mirror blog, believes that NBC wants to bring in some nostalgia to lure fans back.
“It seems like an attempt to twist the optics and take viewers back to a time when they felt good about the network.”
Katie Couric was the face of NBC and Today for a good part of two decades, with most of this time alongside recently fired Today anchor Matt Lauer.
People reported on Katie Couric’s reaction to Matt Lauer’s firing from Today. Although she was asked for her opinion in December, she declined to comment as it was still “upsetting” and she needed to digest the news before making a public comment.
On Saturday, Couric was ready to discuss Matt Lauer.
Describing the entire situation as “painful,” she explains that she never personally saw anything inappropriate with Matt Lauer. She called what occurred to Lauer’s victims as “disturbing, distressing and disorienting.” She described what the women went through as “unacceptable.”
— CNN (@CNN) January 17, 2018
The allegations that came out about Matt Lauer that led to his dismissal from Today all came as a particular shock to Couric, as “this was not the Matt we knew.”
Couric, who co-anchored with Matt Lauer on Today for 15 years, has labeled her relationship with Lauer as that of a brother-sister. Couric insists that Lauer was an exemplary coworker who treated her with “respect.”
NBC Sports has had a major change that will affect their Olympic coverage. Former prime-time host Bob Costas retired a year ago in February, after four decades of covering the Olympics.
According to USA Today, as Mike Tirico will be in Seoul during Super Bowl LII, Bob Costas will be going to Minneapolis during this time for his last major broadcast event — at least for now.
The decision to bring Katie Couric back may become a new trend for NBC as they move on to this new Matt Lauer-less era. Clearly, NBC wants to take the focus off of Matt Lauer and back to happier times with Katie Couric’s warm familiarity.