With every passing year, TODAY's annual "Where in the World Is Matt Lauer?" traveling roadshow grows more and more irritating, especially that noisy, grating jingle that takes over the airwaves way too early in the morning. They really outdid themselves this morning by showcasing Dubai, the petrodollar playground and future home of Halliburton corporate headquarters and their Chief Executive Dave Lesar. They're certainly excited about it at NBC. "Live from Studio 1A: Do Buy Me That Flight to Dubai..." was the breathless title of Elizabeth Neumann's giddy post in AllDAY, "the official TODAY blog, your virtual window to Studio 1A and the people who make America's favorite morning show come alive."
This morning I can only think of one thing to write about: the future trip to Dubai I started planning around 7:05 a.m. this morning with some people in the control room. Matt is in Dubai for Day 4 of Where in the World is Matt Lauer, and it looks absolutely magnificent. WATCH VIDEO. Part of the grandeur of the reveal today was Matt's specific location at the Burj Al Arab Hotel helipad of course, but Eric Jackson, our overnight researcher, quickly pulled up some airline websites so we could start budgeting our own trip.You have to wonder, at a time of rising gas prices, who's supposed to be the audience for this loving portrait of the magic kingdom our gas dollars helped build? People who can afford to stand on top of the Burj Al Arab Hotel helipad and hit golf balls into the wild blue yonder and watch them plummet into the sea 1,000 feet below? Matt did just that, providing a memorable visual metaphor for the American presence in this corner of the world -- rich, oblivious and so far above it all they can't see what's happening on the street.
Between Lauren Kapp - our public relations guru - saying she could leave her new baby for the sake of the trip and Phil Griffin - Senior Vice President of NBC News - calling his two kids at home this morning to ask if they want to go with him to Dubai, this show has clearly given us all travel fever.