Williams to Replace Couric for Olympics Opening Ceremony

Feb 6, 2006  •  Post A Comment

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams will co-host NBC’s Turin, Italy, Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony coverage Friday night, instead of “Today’s” Katie Couric. Mr. Williams’ co-host for the kickoff extravaganza will be Bob Costas, who split hosting duties with Ms. Couric during the opening ceremonies in Sydney, Australia; Salt Lake City; and Athens, Greece.

An announcement over the weekend attributed the switch to Ms. Couric’s travel schedule for “Today”-she will be in Rome for Monday’s episode, followed by Florence and Milan. Her schedule precludes her being in Turin in time to rehearse for the Opening Ceremony broadcast, whereas Mr. Williams will be anchoring “Nightly News” from Turin starting Tuesday.

An NBC News spokeswoman rebuffed any suggestion that Ms. Couric’s change of assignment has anything to do with CBS’s high-profile courtship of her to anchor “CBS Evening News” after her $14 million-plus-per-year NBC contract expires in May.

“It is simply a scheduling thing. That’s all it is,” the NBC News spokeswoman said, adding that it was decided that it was more important for Ms. Couric to travel for “Today,” which will be dedicated to Olympics coverage from Turin during the weeks of Feb. 13 and 20.

“She was fine with it. We were fine with it,” the spokeswoman said about the break from Costas-Couric tradition.