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Weekend Today is the unofficial title of the Saturday and Sunday editions of Today, an American morning news and talk program that airs daily on NBC. Weekend editions of Today began with the launch of the Sunday edition of the program on September 20, 1987.
Sunday Today with Willie Geist logo
|Also known as||Sunday Today|
|Theme music composer||John Williams (1987–2013)|
Non-Stop Music (2013–present)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Matthew Carluccio|
|Production location(s)||Studio 1A, NBC Studios New York City, New York|
|Running time||88–104 minutes (Saturday)|
44–52 minutes (Sunday)
|Production company(s)||NBC News Productions|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),|
|Original release||September 20, 1987 –|
The Saturday edition of the program airs in alignment with the weekday editions of Today from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. ET, although some affiliates chose to tape-delay the program, though some Central Time Zone affiliates may choose to air it live at 6:00 a.m. Central Time. The Saturday edition airs on some NBC stations in earlier timeslots than the weekday editions; stations in the western half of the country choose to air it at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. local time. The Sunday edition, meanwhile, airs from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. ET. Most NBC affiliates choose to air two separate hour-long blocks of their local morning newscasts around the Sunday edition, and in some markets, the Saturday edition, with the first hour of the local newscast airing before and the second hour airing after the program. Some affiliates preempt part of the broadcast or preempt the entire program outright.
The Sunday edition of Today (titled Sunday Today) premiered on September 20, 1987, and was originally hosted by Maria Shriver and Boyd Matson, with Garrick Utley as news anchor. The program was broadcast from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m., followed by Meet the Press. It was the second morning news program to run weekend editions, CBS previously attempted a six-day-a-week morning news program under the "Morning" banner in 1979, the only surviving remnant of which is the newsmagazine CBS News Sunday Morning. Garrick Utley replaced Boyd Matson as co-anchor on March 20, 1988. Shriver, weather anchor Al Roker and sports anchor Bill Macatee continued with the program. In 1989, production of Sunday Today moved to Washington, D.C. to allow Utley to also serve as moderator of Meet the Press.
On November 12, 1989, a special edition of Sunday Today featured Utley in Berlin covering the fall of the Berlin Wall earlier that week, with Shriver hosting from Burbank, California and Roker in New York City. At the end of the broadcast, Utley mentioned that Shriver was leaving the show to go on maternity leave. NBC News national correspondent (and eventual co-anchor of the weekday edition of Today) Katie Couric became substitute anchor during Shriver's absence.
Maria Shriver returned from maternity leave on April 8, 1990, to Sunday Today and announced that she would be leaving the show after that day's broadcast. Couric was named interim co-anchor until Mary Alice Williams became the new co-anchor later that month. Production of the Sunday program returned to New York City when Utley left Meet the Press in 1991.
On August 1, 1992, the Saturday edition made its debut with the reduction of NBC's children's programming block on Saturday mornings to the three-hour TNBC block, expanding the broadcast schedule of the Today franchise to seven days a week. The weekend editions were initially titled Saturday Today or Sunday Today, as applicable, in order to distinguish them from the weekday program. Beginning in the late 1990s, all editions of the program were officially titled Today, although Weekend Today was still sometimes used for promotional purposes. The Sunday program was once again titled "Sunday Today" when Willie Geist became solo anchor in 2016.
Amy Robach and Melissa Francis rotated as news anchor during much of the Brown and Holt era (2003–2007). From 1988, (when Garrick Utley became co-anchor) & 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, until 2012 (When Jenna Wolfe became news anchor) Weekend Today did not have a News Anchor. During that time, a different NBC News, CNBC, or MSNBC correspondent would fill that position each week. Lester Holt left the program in 2015 following his promotion to NBC Nightly News weekday anchor.
The weekend broadcasts continue Today's format of covering breaking news stories, featuring interviews with newsmakers, reports on a variety of popular culture and human-interest stories, covering health and financial issues and presenting the day's national weather forecasts. As with the weekday edition, the program offers visitors to New York City the chance to observe the workings of a live television broadcast firsthand with its windowed studio at Rockefeller Plaza. Interaction with the crowd outside the studio is a major part of the program.
Weekend editions are tailored to the priorities and interests of weekend viewers – offering special series such as Saturday Today on the Plaza, featuring live performances by well-known and up-and-coming music acts and numbers from Broadway theatre productions outside the studio throughout the summer. The Sunday edition also features brief political discussions with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, who will also give a preview of that show.
Don Nash serves as executive producer of all Today broadcasts.
The weekend editions of Today are anchored by Sheinelle Jones and Peter Alexander on Saturdays, and by Willie Geist on Sundays. Peter Alexander was named co-host on October 28, 2018. Meteorologist Dylan Dreyer delivers the forecast on both editions. Occasionally, Kristen Welker, Kate Snow, Hallie Jackson and Frances Rivera fill in for Jones, Hallie Jackson fills in for Geist, and Geist and Alexander fill in for each other. NBC meteorologists Bill Karins, Dave Price and Indra Petersons fill-in for Dreyer. Joelle Garguilo is a correspondent for Weekend Today. Sunday Today with Willie Geist premiered on April 17, 2016.
- Boyd Matson – co-anchor (1987–1988)
- Maria Shriver – co-anchor (1987–1990)
- Garrick Utley – news anchor (1987–1988), co-anchor (1988–1992)
- Katie Couric – co-anchor (1990)
- Mary Alice Williams – co-anchor (1990–1992)
- Al Roker – weather anchor (1987–1992)
- Bill Macatee – sports anchor (1987–1992)
- Scott Simon (1992–1993)
- Jackie Nespral (1992–1995)
- Mike Schneider (1993–1995)
- Giselle Fernández (1995–1996)
- Jack Ford (1995–1999)
- Jodi Applegate (1996–1999)
- Soledad O'Brien (1999–2003)
- David Bloom (1999–2003)
- Campbell Brown (2003–2007)
- Lester Holt (2003–2015)
- Amy Robach – Saturday co-anchor (2007–2012)
- Jenna Wolfe – Sunday co-anchor (2007–2012), news anchor (2012–2014)
- Erica Hill (2012–2016)
- Sheinelle Jones – news anchor (2014–2016), co-anchor (2016–present)
- Stephanie Ruhle — Saturday co-anchor (2016)
- Craig Melvin — co-anchor (2015—2018)
- Al Roker – Saturday weather anchor (1992–1995)
- Joe Witte – Sunday weather anchor (1992–1999)
- Janice Huff – Saturday and/or Sunday weather anchor (1995–2012)
- Sean McLaughlin – Sunday weather anchor (2004–2006)
- Chris Cimino – Saturday weather anchor (2008)
- Bill Karins – Saturday weather anchor (2009–2012)
- Stephanie Abrams – Saturday & Sunday weather anchor (2012)
Scherzo for Today was used as the program's closing theme until 1990, and the Mission bumpers were used until 1993 (one of them could be heard as a station break lead-in on NBC's Meet The Press until 2004). The Scherzo for Today theme was iconically accompanied by Fred Facey announcing "From NBC News, this is Today..." until his death in April 2003, except for special editions requiring special introductions. Facey's work afterwards was only heard on the now-defunct MSNBC program Headliners and Legends. For a time early in the original Sunday Today run; the Scherzo for Today theme was preceded by a recap of clips of stories from the previous week set to "Freightways" by Graham De Wilde.
The Mission cut used as the opening fanfare for Today has opened the program ever since, with two exceptions: in the summer of 1994, to mark the debut of Studio 1A, the John Williams-composed fanfare was replaced by another opening theme, but the Williams theme returned shortly thereafter. In 2004, the show's producers tried out yet another theme, which drew once again on the NBC chimes as its signature, but the Williams theme returned after only a few weeks. It is by far the most enduring theme in the program's history, having been in use for over two decades. In March 2013, "The Mission" was replaced with a theme by Adam Gubman for Non-Stop Music, which is based partly on the Mission theme. A lighter theme employing the NBC chimes is currently used to open the show's 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. half-hour segments, and is also used as a closing theme.
Following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003, the Sunday edition of Weekend Today aired a special edition on February 2, with the expanded introduction:
|“||Disaster: The Space Shuttle Columbia. From NBC News, this is a special edition of Today with Soledad O'Brien at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida and David Bloom at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.||”|
On April 6, 2003, the death of co-anchor David Bloom in Iraq (caused by a blood clot resulting from deepvein thrombosis) dominated that day's edition. Soledad O'Brien, Matt Lauer, and Katie Couric hosted a special edition of Today in remembrance of Bloom.
When Pope John Paul II died on Saturday, April 2, 2005, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer anchored the weekend editions of Today. Lauer anchored from Vatican City with Campbell Brown offering reports by his side. On the day of the Pope's death, Couric anchored a special report on a Vatican statement updating the Pope's dire condition and Lauer reported for the special report anchored by Brian Williams, when the Pope was officially declared dead. Lauer returned to New York City as Couric traveled to Vatican City to co-anchor coverage of the Pope's funeral with Williams.
On April 19, 2008, a special edition of Weekend Today featured Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States, billed as "The Pope Visits the USA." Lester Holt and Jenna Wolfe moved outside to Rockefeller Center to cover the first papal mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. However, they moved back to Studio 1A at the 7:30 a.m. half-hour.
On May 10, 2008, Weekend Today featured a special split-location edition covering the wedding of Jenna Bush at the ranch of President George H. W. Bush outside Crawford, Texas. Co-anchor Lester Holt remained at Studio 1A, while Amy Robach covered the wedding from Texas.
On June 14, 2008, a special edition of Saturday Today, anchored by Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw, discussed the death of NBC News Washington bureau chief and Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert. Andrea Mitchell, David Gregory, Pete Williams, Lisa Myers, the moderators of Meet the Press's competing Sunday morning talk shows, Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation and George Stephanopoulos of This Week, and Vice President Dick Cheney, among others, appeared to share their memories of Russert. The Sunday edition on the following day (June 15), another special edition on the death of Russert was broadcast, hosted by Gregory and Mitchell.
As part of their coverage of Super Bowl XLVI on February 4, 2012, a special Saturday edition was anchored by Lester Holt and Amy Robach from Studio 1A with Jenna Wolfe anchoring from that year's Super Bowl location, Indianapolis, Indiana. The following Sunday's edition was another special edition with Matt Lauer live from Washington D.C., and Ann Curry, Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, and Al Roker live from Indianapolis.
As part of their coverage of Terror in Boston, on Saturday, April 20, 2013, a Saturday edition was anchored by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie from Studio 1A at Rockefeller Plaza and Lester Holt and Erica Hiil from Watertown, Massachusetts.
As part of their coverage of The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXII Olympic Winter Games, Natalie Morales and Lester Holt anchored a special edition of Weekend Today from Sochi, Russia, with Erica Hill reading news headlines and Dylan Dreyer with weather in Studio 1A.
As part of their coverage of The 2015 Terror in Paris, a special Saturday edition was anchored by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, with Sheinelle Jones reading news headlines and Dylan Dreyer with weather in Studio 1A, and Al Roker live from Paris. The Sunday edition on the following, another special edition was broadcast with Erica Hill live from Paris and Harry Smith as co-anchor, with Sheinelle Jones reading news headlines and Dylan Dreyer with weather in Studio 1A.
On May 19, 2018, As part of their coverage of a special Saturday edition was anchored by Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb with weather Al Roker, to cover the Wedding of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex was live at Windsor, England.
The program has more viewers than ABC's Good Morning America Weekend Edition and CBS' CBS This Morning Saturday, but fewer than CBS News Sunday Morning. During the weekend of September 15, 2012, the weekend edition of Good Morning America Weekend topped Weekend Today in the ratings for the first time in that program's history.