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Basement cam connects 'Today' show's Savannah Guthrie


NEW YORK — Working at home on Wednesday was a little more involved than a laptop and cellphone for “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie.

Feeling too sick to come to NBC's Manhattan headquarters yet well enough to work, she had a makeshift studio set up in the basement of her suburban New York home and co-anchored the network morning show remotely with Hoda Kotb.

Al Roker, stuck at home because a “Today” show staffer he works with tested positive for the coronavirus, delivered the weather from his kitchen. Tom Costello reported on the virus' impact from his home office in Maryland, an Emmy Award on the shelf behind him.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the virus.

For media, perhaps most surprising is how quickly the pandemic-induced adjustments stopped seeming unusual.

“I think it's a good message,” said Libby Leist, the show's executive producer. “We've been told by the government to stay indoors and I think it's important to abide by that.”

Guthrie's makeshift studio had two big lights, a blue background, television monitor and TelePrompter. “Today” show staff members dropped the equipment off and, playing it safe, quickly left, leaving it to Guthrie's husband to run things.

“I wasn't feeling my best,” a raspy Guthrie told viewers. “A little sore throat, some sniffles. I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but we are in different times, aren't we?”

From her basement, she conducted remote interviews with Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Back at Rockefeller Center, the typical “Today” staff has been cut in half, and is practicing social distancing in the control room, Leist said. The producer, who generally works out of the control room, has instead been holed up in her office across the street. She runs down the day's show with Guthrie and Kotb via Facetime.

Basement cam will have to work at least one more day with Guthrie.

“It did work pretty well,” Leist said. “I think the audio could be fixed a little bit.”


The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

David Bauder, The Associated Press

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