An NBC mainstay who was expected to be a part of the network’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Rio will sit out the event due to fears associated with the Zika virus.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Savannah Guthrie will not go to Brazil for the Games. Guthrie announced this morning on “Today” that she is pregnant. The the mosquito-borne virus is especially risky for pregnant women, having been associated with severe birth defects.
“The move makes Guthrie, 44, the most high-profile TV personality to opt out of the Games,” THR reports, adding: “NBCUniversal has said that employees concerned about traveling to Rio are not required to go. And so far, a handful of employees have declined.”
The report quotes Noah Oppenheim, NBC News senior VP and executive in charge of “Today,” saying that Zika has “not been a source of very much angst” at the news division. Oppenheim adds: “We’ve created a transparent culture here where people feel very comfortable raising a hand and saying, ‘You know what? I’d rather not make this trip.’”
Guthrie was previously announced to be a part of NBC’s Rio coverage, including joining Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira for the Opening Ceremonies, scheduled for Aug. 5.