UT has won a contest to host a live broadcast with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb for next Monday, October 1.
After UT administration sent an e-mail last week about a chance to be on NBC's "Today Show," students got up early and displayed their Volunteer spirit in front of Ayers Hall. UT won "Today's College Challenge" event, meaning that a live broadcast with Gifford and Kotb will take place on campus on the morning of Oct. 1.
The competition was between the Ohio State University, University of South Florida, Syracuse University, Brandeis University, Creighton University and UT. Votes were cast for the most festive showing in the segment. Rocky Top won out of around 150,000 total votes.
Dorm makeovers will be a subject featured on the show, but other topics in the segment remain to be determined. Elizabeth Oakley, junior in special education, hopes a segment about football is included and is impressed with the publicity opportunity the broadcast will bring.
The "Today Show" has aired since 1952, acquiring loyal viewers and promoting familiar faces such as Al Roker. Nicole Miller, junior in kinesiology, believes the publicity will be a huge success for UT.
"They should let students talk and discuss issues going on around campus," she said. She added that this will bring good publicity for the school, which is much needed after the Florida loss.
Many colleges and universities benefit from TV and film. Favorites as film sets, such as UCLA, Harvard and Princeton enjoy the boost in advertising. "The Great Debaters" and "Legally Blonde" both featured Harvard as a setting.
Jeff Mann, freshman in pre-pharmacy, sees benefits for UT coming from alumni as well.
"If I was an alumni and saw my alma mater on TV, I'd be more inclined to fund the school," Mann said. Although he did not participate in the rally, he heard the blaring of "Rocky Top" and witnessed cupcakes being handed out.
With the publicity UT will surely glean from the "Today Show," student recruiting may also receive a boost. Most graduating high school seniors look to attend universities they are familiar with, and being on a major morning show will take UT directly into living rooms across the nation.
Last year's new branding campaign, "Big Orange Big Ideas," was undertaken to add a new spirit to campus and foster positive changes. Since its unveiling, UT has hosted two major television productions. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" marched onto Phillip Fulmer Way last spring, and ESPN's "College GameDay" broadcasted live from Circle Park just last week. The "Today Show" will be the third show to choose Rocky Top as its filming location since last year.
The show will air from 10-11 a.m. on Monday.