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Will Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira behave for Olympics' closing ceremony?
One supposedly "glib" Tom Cruise interview notwithstanding, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira had been received as generally genial hosts of NBC's "Today" show — but that was before the July 27 opening ceremonies of this year's Olympics in London.
This begs the question: Will Lauer, a former resident of Chappaqua, Ardsley and Hartsdale, and Vieira, who's called Irvington home, exhibit more neutral behavior during Sunday's closing ceremonies?
Olympic viewers have been cranky from the get-go, with critics in mainstream media and social media unleashing a barrage of snark at the network for broadcasting the opening ceremonies on a tape-delay, and for cutting the ceremony's tribute to terrorism victims in favor of a Ryan Seacrest interview with swimmer Michael Phelps. Whoops.
Lauer and Vieira were not spared derision, with Lauer's comments spawning the hashtag #ShutUpMattLauer on Twitter.
As the Huffington Post noted, the hosts' takes on the pageantry unfolding before them were frequent: Their points of reference for Madagascar were the animated movies that bear its name; they noted that most of the athletes marching in the parade of nations wouldn't win medals; they spoke over musical interludes; and they mocked the relative anonymity of Tim Berners-Lee, considered a founder of the World Wide Web.
Unlike NBC's tape-delay and terrorism tribute decisions, it's easier to defend Lauer and Vieira's commentary. The Madagascar comment might not be the most worldly observation, but the movies are probably the first things most Americans think of when they hear the name of that country. Pointing out that most Olympians wouldn't win medals isn't very sensitive, but it is accurate. The musical interludes — especially the cheesy medley of British pop songs through the decades — were in need of a little pointed commentary, if only because the pop montage was interminable. And while Berners-Lee might be big in Internet circles, you're probably lying if you claimed to know him before the opening ceremonies.
Do you think Lauer and Vieira will change their approach during Sunday's closing ceremonies? Vote in our poll or leave a comment below.