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NBC Denies Flying Hoda Kotb to London Olympics to Boost 'Today' Ratings

August 1, 2012 (5:07 am) GMT
The network blasts reports suggesting that it sends Kotb to help bolster 'Today' ratings, stating that her participation in the Olympics coverage has been announced three weeks before.

NBC is not sending Hoda Kotb to London as a last-minute aid to save "". Through its spokesperson, the network states, "It is well-known that Hoda was traveling to London to participate in the Today show's Olympic coverage because we announced it on our show three weeks ago."

"She planned to spend a few days in London covering fun Olympic stories, and she talked about it on the show several times," the rep adds. "In fact, we started a well-publicized Facebook campaign on July 9 asking viewers for suggestions on what types of stories she should do at the Games."

NBC issues the statement after NY Daily News claimed that the network flew Kotb to London over the weekend to take part in the show's Olympic coverage because "audiences weren't digging Curry's replacement, ." Guthrie herself was already in London along with , Natalie Morales and Al Roker.

"They're just shoehorning her into the show to help bring it alive," a source told the site. "They called Hoda on Thursday begging her to go to London because they said it wasn't working like they thought."

During the Olympics, "Today" audience increases around 30% in average. However, the show's pre-Olympics broadcast on Thursday, July 26 was beaten out by ABC's "" by nearly 400,000 viewers.

In another news, the Peacock has issued an apology for spoiling the result of a game at Olympics via a "Today" promo. On Monday night, the network aired the ad which showed U.S. swimmer winning the women's 100-meter backstroke before airing the competition itself.

"Clearly that promo should not have aired at that time," a representative for NBC Sports said in a statement. "We have a process in place and this will not happen again. We apologize to viewers who were watching and didn't know the result of the race."

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