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Matt Lauer will fill in for Bob Costas during Tuesday’s primetime Olympics coverage, NBC announced on Tuesday’s Today show. Costas has been struggling with an eye infection that has drawn much attention on the Internet. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell told The Hollywood Reporter that he hopes the substitution is just for one night.
Indeed, during the morning banter on Tuesday to announce the move, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted that Costas’ eye issues are a “trending item.” And certainly the blogosphere has been closely — maybe a little too closely — tracking the anchor’s worsening eye infection, which began in his left eye and spread to his right eye by Monday night.
Costas, on the phone with the Today team this morning, noted wryly that he is “reluctantly” allowing himself to be benched.
“I was trying to throw a complete game,” he said, comparing himself to a pitcher.
“You’re Mariano Rivera, at least for one night,” he said to Lauer, referencing the great Yankees closer.
Costas, a veteran NBC Sports personality, has hosted every Olympics Games since 1992. And he demonstrates a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of myriad obscure Olympic sports and athletes. But his eye infection, which has likely been exacerbated by the studio lights and makeup, is now interfering with his vision, he admitted.
“Right now, I’m walking around like Marco Polo,” he said this morning. “I have no idea where I am.”
Watch video below from Today’s announcement Tuesday.
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