First look at the ‘Today’ Olympics set in Tokyo

NBC News‘ “Today” gave viewers a sneak peek at the outdoor set the show will be using to broadcast from the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

The network posted two photos to its website and social media July 21, 2021 and then followed up with a video tour on “Today” July 22, 2021.


The set has been built on the roof of the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba, a hotel that NBC has partially taken over to use as a broadcasting location outside of the IBC for NBC News, NBC News Channel and many NBC affiliates. There are multiple camera positions on the roof and hotel room balconies and windows.

The network has multiple live shot locations on various parts of the hotel’s rooftop patios, including the set “Today” will be using — which features a dramatic wood grid structure accented with lanterns, all inspired by the Japanese architecture and culture.

There’s also a low, match wood railing with a line of bonsai trees on elevated pedestals.


However, what’s perhaps most impressive is the view. The hotel’s location affords NBC sweeping views of the city’s iconic Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower, both of which are lit of dramatically at night. Because of the time zone difference, it will be dark in Tokyo when “Today” airs live starting at 7 a.m. eastern.

“Today” is sending Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Craig Melvin to Tokyo to begin broadcasting from the space starting Monday, July 26, 2021. They will join Savanah Guthrie, who is already in the city and has been providing live reports throughout the week — though she was “rehearsing” July 21, 2021, according to what Kotb and Melvin said on air.

In addition to her “Today” duties, Guthrie is also co-hosting NBC’s telecast of the opening ceremonies alongside NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico

In the past, NBC has used a semi-circular structure with movable glass panels that could be broken down and shipped around the globe as home base for “Today” at the Olympics.

It would typically be set up in a public area so that crowds of fans could gather around it much like they do at Studio 1A in New York City.

However, coronavirus concerns led Tokyo officials to ban most fans and spectators, so “Today” won’t be able to have that fan interaction.

NBC did, however, announce that the space outside Studio 1A will be open to the public as a way to cheer on Team USA July 26, 2021 through Aug. 6, 2021.

Viewers and fans need to register online at the show’s website for a pass to participate. The outdoor area is open to people age 13 and up who provide both proof of vaccination and a photo ID.

Producers are also apparently on the lookout for Team USA “superfans” as the pass request form asks fans to make note of this.