*Looks like Hoda Kotb is positioning herself to make some industry power moves.
The co-host of the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” has signed with CAA for representation. She had previously been with the smaller New York-based N.S. Bienstock.
Kotb began hosting the 10 a.m. hour of “Today” when it debuted in Sept. 2007, and she currently hosts alongside Kathie Lee Gifford. Kotb has also been a “Dateline NBC” correspondent since April 1998.
She was recently summoned to London to help with “Today‘s” coverage from the Summer Olympics.
*Gabby Douglas is bringing her life story to the pages of an “inspirational memoir” for a HarperCollins imprint, the gold medal gymnast announced this morning.
“Grace, Gold and Glory, My Leap of Faith,’’ due in December, will detail her journey to gold in the London Olympics.
There will be many references on how her deep Christian faith and the support of her family and the host family she lived with while training for the Olympics helped her focus through the intense scrutiny in London, according to Douglas’s agent, Sheryl Shade. Douglas also wants the book to show that dreams can be achieved by hard work and determination.
Douglas, who will appear with her U.S. gymnastics teammates on tonight’s “MTV’s Video Music Awards,” began fielding book offers only days after her Olympic performance. Shade told TODAY.com that they immediately had 12 inquiries and five solid offers, including three from Christian imprints. They eventually decided on the Zondervan division of HarperCollins.
*Gabrielle Douglas, who on Thursday became the first African American gymnast to win the all-around event at the Olympics, helped NBC draw 35.7 million viewers, according to fast affiliate numbers. That’s up eight percent from the same night at the Beijing Olympics four years ago.
Already a team gold medal winner at the London Olympics, the 17-year-old’s win in the prestigious all-around event was significant in several ways: she beat the highly touted Russian favorite, defied those uncertain that she would be able to handle the pressure, and became the first ever person of color to win this event. Needless to say, she has gotten her share of attention online.
Twitter exploded when NBC broadcast her win — even with the tape delay — and she received plenty of shoutouts from celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Gabrielle Union, Michael Phelps, Octavia Spencer, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Snooki, Elizabeth Banks and ultimate Olympic tweeter Samuel L. Jackson, among many others. And that comes in addition to the mention she got from President Obama on Wednesday.
Almost immediately, Kelloggs announced that Douglas would grace the cover of a Corn Flakes box, releasing the mock-up for all to see. It should be one of many promotional materials for the young athlete.
She also published a column with ESPN, giving her first person take on the road to gold.
“People have asked if I felt like I was on fire here in London, but I just feel normal, the same as I do every day in practice. The difference has been that I was ready to seize the moment, to focus and to trust in what I can do,” Douglas wrote. “You say you want to do it and you dream about it every day, but then when it happens, it’s hard to believe it really has. Tonight, when the U.S. flag was raised and the national anthem played, there were so many camera flashes going off I felt like I was at a concert.
“And the crazy thing was, they were all taking pictures of me.”
And then there’s this silliness…
There’s a contingent of the black blogosphere that has a problem with Gabby’s hair, significant enough for journalist Alison Samuels to write a column about it in today’s Daily Beast.
Titled, “Gabby Douglas Takes Two Olympic Golds…And Hair Criticism,” the piece points out: “The 4-foot-11 Douglas appears to have chemically relaxed natural hair, to which she has added a human-hair ponytail for height. She apparently then slicks her hair back with a heavy layer of gel to encourage it to stay in place during her high-energy performances.”
The below excerpts from the article seem to encapsulate both sides of the debate.
“I love how she’s doing her thing and winning,’’ says 22-year-old Latisha Jenkins of Detroit told The Daily Beast. “But I just hate the way her hair looks with all those pins and gel. I wish someone could have helped her make it look better since she’s being seen all over the world. She representing for black women everywhere.’”
“Black women can’t win for losing,’’ says Nina Barnes, a 25-year-old semi-pro on the tennis circuit who says she’s struggled with her own hair issues while playing. “You’re out there to compete and prove you have this amazing talent. You do what you can with your hair but it’s not something you worry about too much. You can’t.’’ Barnes, of Las Vegas, says she’s tried several different hairstyles with her medium-length tresses while playing before deciding to just get braids.
They are everywhere on television: dripping wet, heavy-breathing, half-naked men. No, this isn’t a gay-porn channel—it’s just the men’s swimming competition during the Summer Olympics.
Ripped, tanned men seemingly carved out of marble are making women and gay men happy—very happy—during these Olympics, spurring Internet memes and social-media buzz. It’s like the Channing Tatum male-stripper movie Magic Mike got a sequel—a very (thankfully) long sequel—one that’s also preciously short on plot but long on beefcake.
While women have long provided daydream fodder for men and lesbians—say hello to the field hockey team when not checking out the scantily clad ladies taking part in the beach volleyball competition—London’s Games seem to be drumming up a particularly focused interest in celebrating the fine male physique.
“Because of social media, the discussion of a topic—particularly one that appeals to anyone attracted to incredibly fit men—becomes buzzy to the point that it’s a dull roar.”
Thomas Onorato, who runs the publicity firm OW! in New York, agreed.
“I have seen it for years with the gay community being fans of swimmers, wrestlers, etc.,” said Onorato, who is gay. “It has just hit the mainstream in a more prominent way compared to four years ago, thanks to Twitter, Tumblr, and the media cycle.”
You can read/learn more at the Daily Beast.
*Gabrielle Douglas just won her second Olympic gold medal of the London Summer Games, taking the individual all-around event to match her performance anchoring the U.S. team’s first-place performance earlier this week.
Douglas scored 15.500 or higher in her first three rotations, with an emphatic 15.966 on her vault. Her final score was 62.232. She led the field of 24 gymnasts with 47.199 points as the top-ranked athletes entered the fourth and final rotation, on the floor exercise. Victoria Komova was in the second slot with 46.873 points, followed by her Russian teammate Aliya Mustafina with 44.966.
She becomes the first American woman to claim team and all-around gold in the same Olympics, completing her meteoric rise to the top of the sport.
Meanwhile, the White House announced Wednesday that President Barack Obama spoke on the phone with the whole gymnastics team after they won the gold-medal, including Douglas.
“You just tore it up,” Obama told the 16-year-old athlete who has trained in Iowa. “I know how hard you worked to get there.”
He added: “Keep at it. Stay cool.”
The president also spoke with Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross.
He said to Raisman, “Michelle (Obama) and have watched and decided of all the Olympians you guys amaze us the most.”
To Maroney: “Way to nail that vault. It was unbelievable.”
To Ross: He remarked how she was “really steady. … I was impressed by how cool you were. I don’t know how you do what you do especially the balance beam.”