Bryant Gumbel just signed a reported $6 million, three-year contract to continue working on Today. His prime-time anchoring duties in Seoul are extracurricular, earning him an undisclosed bonus. He’ll be making those bucks each evening from 7:30 to midnight ET. Bob Costas, the sportscaster who just started his own late-night talk show on NBC, takes over the anchoring from 12:30 to 2:30 a.m. ET. How convenient. Jane Pauley and professional jock-watchers Jimmy Cefalo and Gayle Gardner will handle the mornings from 7 to 10 ET. Ahmad Rashad anchors one-hour weekday afternoon shows from 4 to 5 ET. And we’ll have expert commentary from former Olympians Mary Lou Retton and Bart Conner on gymnastics, Jeff Blatnick and Russ Hellickson on wrestling, Nancy Lieberman on women’s basketball, Chris Marlowe on volleyball, Frank Shorter and Dwight Stones on track, Bill Steinkraus on equestrian events, John Naber on swimming and Candy Costie-Burke on my fave sport, synchronized swimming.
THE BIG WATCH
Here’s a rundown of times each day with lists of the finals expected to fall into prime time. The basic daily schedule: 7-10 a.m., 4-5 p.m., 7:30-midnight and 12:30-2:30 a.m. (All times are ET. Except for the first and last day, the nightly show will nor be tape-delayed. So live coverage beginning nightly at 7:30 ET will begin at 6:30 CT, 5:30 MT and 4:30 PT. Ditto for late-night coverage starting at 12:30 a.m. in the East and 9:30 p.m. in the West. So, as usual, Californians will look healthier and happier than New Yorkers.)
Fri., Sept. 16: 8 p.m.-midnight—Opening.
Sat., Sept. 17: 4-7 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-midnight, 12:30-2:30 a.m.—Women’s platform diving.
Sun., Sept. 18: 8 a.m.-noon, 4-7 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-midnight, 12:30-2:30 a.m.—Some swimming finals.
Mon., Sept. 19: daily schedule—Men’s springboard.
Tues., Sept. 20: daily schedule—More swimming finals.
Wed., Sept. 21: daily schedule—Men’s all-around gymnastics.
Thurs., Sept. 22: daily schedule—Women’s all-around gymnastics, women’s marathon.
Fri., Sept. 23: daily schedule—Men’s 100-meter run, men’s gymnastics (individual apparatus finals) and some rowing finals.
Sat., Sept. 24: noon-1 p.m., 4-7 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-midnight, 12:30-2:30 a.m.—Women’s gymnastics (individual apparatus finals), men’s 400-meter hurdles, women’s 100-meter run, women’s springboard and more rowing.
Sun., Sept. 25: 8 a.m.-noon, 4-7 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-midnight, 12:30-2:30 a.m.—Men’s and women’s 800-meter runs and women’s cycling road race.
Mon., Sept. 26: daily schedule—Men’s platform diving and men’s cycling road race.
Tues., Sept. 27: daily schedule—Men’s 400-meter, team equestrian jumping, plus day one of the decathlon.
Wed., Sept. 28: daily schedule—Super-heavyweight weightlifting, women’s basketball plus day two of the decathlon.
Thurs., Sept. 29: daily schedule—Men’s basketball, men’s singles tennis, some canoeing finals, plus (hold on to your noseclips!) the solo finals for synchronized swimming.
Fri., Sept. 30: daily schedule—Lots of track finals, women’s singles tennis, some boxing finals and more canoeing.
Sat., Oct. 1: noon-1 p.m., 4-7 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-midnight, 12:30-2:30 a.m.—Equestrian jumping, men’s volleyball and more boxing.
Sun., Oct. 2: 8 a.m.-noon, 7-11 p.m.—Closing ceremonies.