NBC'S ANNUAL 'CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER' CELEBRATES THE MUSIC OF THE HOLIDAYS ON WEDNESDAY, DEC. 3
NEW YORK - Nov. 12, 2014 - NBC will celebrate the lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree with "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" on Wednesday, Dec. 3 (8-9 p.m. ET).
"Today" show anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales will host the live broadcast from New York City's Rockefeller Center®, which will showcase spectacular holiday performances from Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett, Cyndi Lauper, Seth MacFarlane featuring Sara Bareilles, Idina Menzel, Pentatonix, LeAnn Rimes, and Trisha Yearwood.
The 82nd annual holiday extravaganza will feature an 85-foot tall Norway Spruce from Hemlock Township, Penn. It is approximately 90 years old and weighs approximately 13 tons.
Prior to the primetime telecast, an additional live hour of the special will be broadcast on select NBC stations (7-8 p.m. ET). Check local listings.
Once again, Green is Universal, NBCUniversal's sustainability initiative, and the Arbor Day Foundation will kick off their tree planting campaign "Share a Tree" during the "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" broadcast. Viewers will be asked to participate by tweeting #shareatree, or visiting greenisuniversal.com. For every tweet, like, share or comment the Arbor Day Foundation will plant one tree, up to 1 million.
This year when visitors go to http://www.greenisuniversal.com/ they'll come across a digital forest with hand-drawn trees from NBCU talent, including Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Alison Sweeney, Andy Cohen, Jim Cramer and many more. NBCU fans are invited to decorate and share their own digital trees, plus share our talents' customized trees. Each tree decorated, plus every like, share, retweet and comment, will plant a tree. All the social actions will also trigger donations from NBCU to Arbor Day, up to $25,000.
ABOUT THE HOSTS:
Matt Lauer – Matt Lauer has been co-anchor of NBC News' “Today” since January 6, 1997. He joined “Today” in January 1994 as the show's news anchor. From September 1992 to September 1996, Lauer was at WNBC in New York City where he served as a co-anchor of the early morning newscast “Today in New York” and as a co-anchor of the early evening newscast “News Channel 4/Live at Five.” He began substituting on “Today” as a news anchor in early 1993 before becoming the permanent news anchor in 1994. Prior to joining WNBC, Lauer hosted a daily, live, three-hour interview program, “9 Broadcast Plaza,” in New York from 1989 to 1991. Before that, his experience included hosting a number of weekly information and talk programs in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. Lauer began his career in 1979 as a producer of the noon news on WOWK in Huntington, West Virginia. In 1980, he was a reporter on the station's 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. Lauer is a graduate of Ohio University. He lives in New York with his wife, Annette Roque Lauer, their sons, Jack and Thijs, and daughter, Romy.
Savannah Guthrie – Savannah Guthrie is the co-anchor of NBC News’ “Today" and also serves as NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent. Prior to joining “Today,” Guthrie served as NBC News White House Correspondent from December 2008 to June 2011 where she contributed to all NBC News properties, including “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “Today” and MSNBC. Guthrie also served as co-host of MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” from January 2010 to June 2011. In 2002, Guthrie received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where she graduated magna cum laude. She was a member of Order of the Coif and received the International Academy of Trial Lawyers’ Student Advocacy Award for her work with victims of domestic violence. She graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism in 1993. She received the top score on the Arizona Bar Exam in 2002. Guthrie lives in New York with her husband, Mike Feldman, and their daughter, Vale.
Al Roker – Al Roker has been the weather and feature anchor on NBC News' “Today” since January 1996. He's also co-host of “Wake Up with Al” on the Weather Channel. Until January of 2000, Roker also served as the weekday weather forecaster for News Channel 4's early evening newscast Live at 5 on WNBC-TV, NBC's flagship owned and operated station in New York City. New York magazine has twice named Roker Best Weatherman. He is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society's prestigious Seal of Approval and has been a pioneer in the use of computer graphics for weathercasting. In 1994, Roker founded Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. (ARE), a thriving multimedia company involved in the development and production of network, cable, home video, and public television projects. Roker is a bestselling author, with his most recent book, "Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle For Good," available now. Raised in Queens, N.Y., Roker received his B.A. in communications from the State University at Oswego in 1976, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the school in 1998. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, ABC News 20/20 Correspondent Deborah Roberts, and has two daughters and one son.
Natalie Morales – Natalie Morales is the news anchor of NBC News’ “Today” and the co-host of the third hour. Prior to her role as news anchor, Morales served as “Today” national correspondent from February 2006 to June 2011. Morales also served as a national correspondent for all NBC News platforms including “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” Dateline NBC,” and MSNBC, and still continues to report across the NBC News Group. Morales, who speaks Spanish and Portuguese, was born in Taiwan and spent much of the first 18 years of her life living overseas in Panama, Brazil and Spain as an Air Force “brat.” She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University, New Jersey, with dual majors in journalism and Latin American studies. Morales was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Suma Cum Laude. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and two sons.
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS:
Tony Bennett – No one in popular American music has recorded for so long and at such a high level of excellence than Tony Bennett. With millions of records sold world-wide and platinum and gold albums to his credit, Bennett has received seventeen Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Award. His initial successes came via a string of Columbia singles in the early 1950's, including such chart-toppers as "Because of You," "Rags to Riches," and a remake of Hank Williams "Cold, Cold Heart." Tony Bennett is one of a handful of artists to have new albums charting in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and now in the first two decades of the 21st century. He has introduced a multitude of songs into the Great American Songbook that have since become standards for pop music. He has toured the world to sold-out audiences with rave reviews whenever he performs. In the new millennium, Bennett's artistry and popularity was higher than ever. In 2006, the year of his 80th birthday, his "Duets: An American Classic" was released. The album won three Grammy Awards and went on to be one of the best-selling CDs of the year and Bennett's career. Bennett's first "Duets" album also inspired the Rob Marshall-directed television special "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," which won seven Emmys. In celebration of his 85th birthday in 2011 the release of Bennett's highly anticipated, "Duets II," featured Bennett performing with a new roster of celebrated artists and earned him two Grammys. The album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Album charts, making Bennett the only artist at the age of 85 to achieve this in the history of recorded music. Bennett's latest endeavor is a collaborative jazz album with Lady Gaga, released this September, titled, "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek To Cheek." "Cheek To Cheek" debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts making Bennett, at the age of 88, the oldest artists to have a #1 album - a record he originally established when his "Duets II" debuted at #1. Bennett became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2005, was named an NEA Jazz Master in January of 2006, a Citizen of the World award from the United Nations and a Billboard Magazine Century Award in honor of his outstanding contributions to music. With his wife Susan, he established Exploring the Arts, which supports and funds arts education in NYC public high schools and with the Department of Education, founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in his hometown of Astoria, Queens.
Lady Gaga - Lady Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album "The Fame" (2008), which sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Her contributions to the music industry have garnered her numerous achievements including five Grammy Awards amongst fifteen nominations, thirteen MTV Video Music Awards amongst twenty-six nominations, and the estimated sale of 27 million albums and 130 million singles worldwide. She has travelled the world on numerous tours including 2008′s The Fame Ball, 2009-2011′s The Monster Ball and 2012-2013′s Born This Way Ball. An HBO television special titled "Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden" earned an Emmy Award amongst its five nominations. Her third studio album, "Born This Way," broke the iTunes record for the fastest rise to the # 1 on release day. In 2013, Time Magazine named her the second most influential person of the decade. With over 2.7 billion combined views of all her videos online, Lady Gaga is one of the biggest living forces in social media with over 67 million likes on Facebook and over 42 million followers on Twitter. She is also a global activist and philanthropist, having been an outspoken supporter of many important issues including LGBT rights, HIV/AIDS awareness, body image issues, and youth empowerment. In 2011, she launched her own Born This Way Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to empowering youth and creating a kinder and braver world. In 2011 she also built & launched a social network just for her fans, LittleMonsters.com. Lady Gaga is the only artist in the digital era to top the 5 million sales mark with her first two hits. Lady Gaga's fourth studio album, "ARTPOP," was released on Nov. 11, 2013 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 258,000 copies sold in its first week, earning Lady Gaga her second consecutive number-one album; to this date it has sold 2.3 million copies worldwide. For Lady Gaga, ARTPOP is a self-described reverse Warholian expedition. As of May, Lady Gaga has once again set off to travel the world embarking on her fourth world tour entitled: artRave: The ARTPOP Ball.
Cyndi Lauper – Cyndi Lauper is a Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winning (for her "Kinky Boots" score) artist, who after 30 sterling years and global record sales in excess of 50 million albums, has proven that she has the heart and soul to keep her legion of fans compelled by her every creative move. With her first album, "She's So Unusual," Lauper won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist and became the first female in history to have four top-five singles from a debut album. Since then, Lauper has released ten additional studio albums with her most recent, the Grammy nominated "Memphis Blues," ruling the Billboard Blues Chart for 14 consecutive weeks to become the best-selling blues album of 2010. Overall, during her storied music career, Lauper has been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, seven American Video Awards and 18 MTV Awards. With her Tony Award win for Best Original Score for the hit Broadway musical "Kinky Boots," Cyndi became the first solo woman to ever win that category. Lauper recently captured her journey through music and life in her New York Times best-selling autobiography, "Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir." As an actress, Lauper made her Broadway debut in "The Threepenny Opera" in 2006. She has appeared in numerous television shows, including "Mad About You" (Emmy Award) and "Bones" and films including "The Opportunist", "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle," "Life With Mikey," "Off and Running" and "Vibes." Lauper also continues her philanthropic work through her foundation, the True Colors Fund.
Seth MacFarlane – Academy Award-nominated and Grammy-nominated writer, singer, actor, producer and director Seth MacFarlane recently released his latest musical venture on Sept. 30, a Christmas album entitled "Holiday for Swing." Following his critically acclaimed 2011 debut, "Music Is Better Than Words," and a 2013 Oscar Nomination for co-writing "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from "Ted," MacFarlane once again teamed up with composer, arranger, and producer Joel McNeely to record both timeless holiday songs and lesser-known gems. Continuing a longtime friendship and creative partnership, Norah Jones joins him for "Little Jack Frost Get Lost", while Sara Bareilles lends her powerful pipes to "Baby It's Cold Outside". A true renaissance man, Seth MacFarlane has created some of the most popular content on television and film today while also expanding his career in the worlds of music, literature and philanthropy. He is the creator of "Family Guy" and "American Dad!", voicing many characters on both shows, and executive produced the 13 time Emmy Award nominated series "Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey". MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in 2012 with the highest-grossing original R-rated film of all time, "Ted" and is currently in production on the sequel, "Ted 2," which is set for release on June 26, 2015. MacFarlane co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in the recently released feature film, "A Million Ways to Die in the West." MacFarlane's debut album, "Music Is Better Than Words," debuted at #1 on the iTunes jazz charts in 2011 and received two Grammy nominations, including 'Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.' In 2013, MacFarlane hosted the 85th Academy Awards and was also an Academy Award nominee the same year. In 2009, he created The Seth MacFarlane Foundation to focus his charitable efforts.
Idina Menzel –Tony Award-winning icon Idina Menzel has a diverse career that traverses stage, film, television and music. Menzel's voice can be heard as Elsa in Disney's global box office smash "Frozen," in which she sings the film's Oscar-winning song "Let It Go." After Menzel's performance of the multi-platinum song at the 86th annual Academy Awards, she made history as the first person with both a Billboard Top 10 hit and a Tony Award for acting. Menzel earned her first Tony nomination as Maureen in the Pulitzer Prize winner Rent, and won the award for her performance as Elphaba in "Wicked." Other notable roles include Rachel Berry's mother, Shelby Corcoran, on the hit television show "Glee" as well starring opposite Susan Sarandon and Amy Adams in Disney's Enchanted. Menzel starred in her own PBS special, "Barefoot at the Symphony," with an accompanying live album of the same name, and her highly successful international concert tour recently included a sold-out performance at Radio City Music Hall. In addition to cast albums, Menzel's prolific recording career includes the solo albums "I Stand, Here" and "Still I Can't Be Still." Her first-ever Christmas album "Holiday Wishes," released October 2014 on Warner Bros. Records, debuted at #1 on Billboard's Holiday Albums chart and is already receiving rave reviews. Menzel can currently be seen on Broadway as Elizabeth in the original production "If/Then," for which she earned critical acclaim and her third Tony nomination, and performed "Always Starting Over" from the musical at this year's Tony Awards. For more information, please visit www.idinamenzel.com.
Pentatonix – Pentatonix consists of lead vocalists Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, and Mitch Grassi, vocal bass Avi Kaplan and beatboxer Kevin "K.O." Olusola. Their new holiday album, "That's Christmas To Me" debuted at No. 9 on The Billboard Top 200 Album Chart making this the second album (first one being "PTX Vol. III") in a month and fourth album in less than a year to debut Top 10 on the chart. PTX has released two videos in support of the album so far, "White Winter Hynmal" and "Winter Wonderland / Don't Worry Be Happy" ft. Tori Kelly. Additionally the group released four music videos in support of the "PTX Vol. III" - "Problem", "La La Latch", "Papaoutai" ft. Lindsey Stirling and "Rather Be" - which have been viewed over 27 million times. Having recently eclipsed 6.6 million subscribers and over 630 million cumulative views, the PTXOfficial YouTube page is currently the 13th most subscribed-to music channel. Their music video for "Daft Punk" has recently surpassed 100 million views.
LeAnn Rimes – With album sales of more than 42 million, two GRAMMY Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards and 12 Billboard Music Awards, LeAnn Rimes has made her mark in the world of music. She was the youngest person to ever win a Grammy Award and was the first country artist to win the Grammy Best New Artist trophy. Widely regarded as one of the finest vocalists in music in the last three decades, she is known for her powerful and flawless voice and a sound that is simultaneously fresh and timeless. She has gone on to have 42 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, 13 of which have made the Top 10. Rimes just released her most recent Christmas album, "One Christmas - Chapter 1," available now in retailers nationwide and on digital platforms. The album, one of a three volume series (with one album released each Christmas) has Rimes singing some of her favorite holiday songs. She also is embarking on a holiday tour by the same name, to coincide. Rimes has also ventured into acting with roles in the Lifetime movie "Northern Nights" and the ABC telefilm "Holiday In Your Heart," as well as written several books including the novel "Holiday in Your Heart" (on which the ABC project was based), the inspirational book "What I Cannot Change," and the children's books "Jag" and "Jag's New Friend."
Trisha Yearwood – Trisha Yearwood possesses one of the most powerful voices in music and has built an empire by graciously standing her ground and fighting triumphantly. Like Trisha herself, her twelfth album "PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit," is the complete package, featuring ten of her career-defining hits and six new songs sung so deftly, they call to mind floating butterflies and stinging bees. In fact, the bob-and-weave between classics and new songs mirrors her footwork each night on stage alongside Garth Brooks, as part of their history-making tour. This platinum-selling, multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winning recording artist is the epitome of Southern charm...and a C.E.O. to boot. Since the release of her last Grammy-nominated album, Trisha has written two New York Times Bestselling cookbooks ("Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen" and "Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood") with a third scheduled for release in spring 2015 entitled "Trisha's Table." She's hosted five seasons of her Emmy Award-winning Food Network series, "Trisha's Southern Kitchen," and has her own cookware and cutlery lines on the way, with additional lifestyle brands planned.
"Christmas in Rockefeller Center" is produced by Brad Lachman Productions with Lachman serving as executive producer. Bill Bracken produces.
For more information on the “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” visithttp://www.nbc.com/christmas-in-rockefeller-center and the NBC Universal Media Village website at www.nbcumv.com.
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