NBC this morning annointed Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski its lead figure-skating announcing team with play-by-play announcer Terry Gannon. Three-time U.S. figure skating champion Weir, and 1998 Olympic gold medalist Lipinski, are joining Gannon in replacing NBC Sports Group’s previous lead figure skating team of Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton, and Sandra Bezic. Gold medalist Hamilton, who has done commentary for NBC Sports since 2002, and will remain part of NBC broadcast coverage as “special contributor” at the U.S. Championships, the Winter Olympics, etc.
The new threesome will make their official debut Sunday at the Skate America in Chicago.
Weir and Lipinski this morning were trotted out on NBC’s Today for the announcement. The duo, and their coordinated outfits, became the It Couple of NBCSN’s live figure-skating coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and, had it not been for Bob Costas’ pink eyes, might have been the big story of the Sochi Games coverage on NBC.
“We’re excited that viewers will be treated to this team’s informative and entertaining commentary for many years to come, all while looking fabulous,” Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC Olympics, said in this morning’s announcement.
“We thank Tom, Scott and Sandra for their many years of excellent work on Olympic figure skating. They set the bar high,” Bell continued, showing them the door, adding, “We are looking forward to hearing more of Tom’s signature track and field calls at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.”
NBC has been pushing Weir and Lipinski since the Sochi Games. They served as fashion experts for NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby in May, and NBCU program Access Hollywood’s coverage of the 2014 Academy Awards.
Weir said he was “so honored” and Lipinski said she “could not be more excited to continue this journey” in today’s announcement, leaving Gannon to provide the only non-snooze-inducing canned quote of the announcement: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to cover skating at the highest level on NBC with partners that are informative, unpredictable and uniquely stylish…time to upgrade my wardrobe.”