While it's become something of a joke these Olympics (even inspiring the requisite Twitter parody), Bob Costas bummed out fans of his work when he was forced to sit out doing NBC primetime Olympic coverage most of this week due to an eye infection. Despite what looks like a painful case of pink eye, Costas says that he's hopeful he will be back in front of the camera soon.
Costas, 61, explained to Ryan Seacrest on the latter's radio show Thursday that he actually feels fine and was still able to see through the red eyes at first but his condition ultimately deteriorated, making his vision blurry and extremely sensitive to light, much less harsh studio lighting.
In his stead, Matt Lauer of NBC's Today has been filling in for the evening coverage. Ever the sports journalist, Costas used a couple of sports phrases to describe the situation, listing himself as "day-to-day" while Lauer (or Mariano Rivera in this metaphor) comes in off the bench to take his place. Earlier today, it was announced that Today alum Meredith Vieira would be taking the reins for Friday night. The appearance will mark the first time a woman has ever anchored the network's primetime Olympic coverage solo.
"I'm hoping that I'm back by the weekend and I certainly think I'll be able to do the second half of the Games," Costas said. "The virus, they tell me, won't run its course for two or three weeks, but the symptoms will crest at their worst and start to get better pretty soon, so as soon as the symptoms get to the point where I can be in the studio, I'll be there."
He also added that he's being killed with kindness by helpful folks in the form of thousands of emails and calls to NBC medical giving suggestions and even offering optometry services. Seacrest said that breastmilk is the leading remedy to cure eye infections (which actually looks like a legit method, at least for children), to which Costas responded "Is there a Lady Madonna standing by?"
In the meantime, Vieira is ready to step in this evening while Costas recovers and Lauer gets some sleep.
"Meredith's fantastic, she'll be great, she really will, and I know she's going to have a blast," Lauer said. "It's fun!"