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  • 10:03 AM ET  08.08

By Sarah Kwak

At 8:08 a.m. EDT (and 8:08 p.m. in Beijing), Al Roker was chit-chatting with fans gathered in Rockefeller Center for the morning broadcast of the Today Show. When he threw it back to Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer on the Olympic Green in Beijing, though, there was no spectacle, not even many people around them. That's because the Today Show seemed to have taped its program late Thursday night. How do we know that? After all, it looks dark, like it's nighttime in Beijing. (Legit nighttime, not just a nasty "fog.")

Well, for one, Lauer co-hosted the Opening Ceremony. How could he be in two places at once? Lauer also slipped once early in the broadcast, saying "tomorrow night" in reference to the ceremony. A few minutes later Bob Costas (also hosting) said he's looking forward to "tonight, right?" (wink, wink; nudge nudge.) The oldest American Olympian, sailor John Dane III, also dropped by the outdoor set and mentioned that the Opening Ceremony would happen tomorrow night. You could almost see Meredith cringe and think to herself, "No! It's happening tonight, at 7:30, 6:30 Central, right here on NBC, exclusive network of the 2008 Beijing Olympics! And you're ruining it!"

The whole charade felt like watching Conan O'Brien pretend that he's broadcasting live at 12:30 a.m., or that the view of New York City behind his desk isn't a curtain, except the people on Today weren't joking. They would come back from commercial breaks and tell us the time (they were right) and then go on pretending that at that very moment Beijing wasn't being lit up in a spectacular fireworks celebration just a few miles away. To their credit, though, by 9 a.m. they threw the broadcast back to their New York studios and subsequently kept mum from Beijing.

Regardless, NBC's broadcast of the Opening Ceremony is just a few hours away. Things I'm most looking forward to...

  1. Reaction shots of world leaders -- W., in particular. Because I'm convinced that directors love showing important people looking bored (see cameras on the owners box at any sporting event) or goofy (see W.).
  2. The fashion. Who's wearing what? The Americans will be outfitted in Ralph Lauren -- navy blazers, white pants and white Kangol(-like) caps; you know, the kind that Samuel L. Jackson made cool about 10 years ago. Speaking of fashion, did you catch Wednesday's Project Runway? The contestants had to make a "look" for Team USA to wear during the Opening Ceremony parade. And I must say, Jerell's hat? Abs not. I mean, imagine Crystl Bustos in an oversized, polka-dot hat. No no no. A hot mess, indeed.
  3. The fireworks. The pyrotechnic display is being insanely hyped up. I'm hoping we see fireworks that burst into money that falls from the sky. Or at least something cooler than smiley faces. 
  4. How many times they say the number 8. (Bet the over.) 
  5. The ineffable Celine Dion. Enough said.

What are you most looking forward to tonight? 

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