Aug 6, 2008

NBC Today Show in Beijing

I've watched The Today Show occasionally in the past. When I lived in California, the show was generally over by the time I rolled out of bed and took a shower, so I can't really call myself a fan. This week, they did some broadcasts in Beijing. Monday was the Great Wall, Tuesday was the Forbidden City, and Wednesday was the Summer Palace.

I was caught up with my work late Wednesday afternoon, so I dropped by the Summer Palace for an hour or so. NBC had their set arranged on a little pier beside the lake, so you couldn't get very close to the broadcasting action, and the camera wasn't going to pick up anyone in the background. (This Google Maps link shows where they were set up, if you're curious)

As I was walking around the boat rental area, just a little after 6 PM, I spotted a lanky White Man in a paddle boat, slowly coming in towards the dock. I had to do a double take, but the guy was in fact Matt Lauer. As he came in towards the dock, he nonchalantly got off the boat and made his way over to the set. A buxom blonde assistant walked along side him. I made sure to stay about 15 or 20 feet away from him. I've seen a couple of his more intense interviews with celebrities. He's not a guy I'd want to catch when he's having a bad day.

Here's a YouTube video I put together with some clips I shot.

The cool thing was, absolutely no one around paid attention to Matt Lauer. He's a complete unknown in China. In fact, I got more attention than Matt Lauer: some countryside tourists took a picture together with me while I was standing around.

The thirty or so locals that were scattered around watching the filming were talking amongst themselves trying to figure out if these laowai out on the pier were making a movie, doing a news report, or something else. For the most part, the locals just wanted to get onto the pier and enjoy the evening breeze by the water, and they seemed a little annoyed that the foreigners had occupied it.

And finally, a proposition: if you're a big fan, and you want to sit your keister in the same paddle boat that Matt Lauer used, I know the boat number and I can get you set up for the price of a case of beer.

Here's the first hour of the show they filmed at the Summer Palace:


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