NBC will celebrate the lighting of the world’s most famous
Christmas tree
with a live broadcast from Rockefeller Center in New York City on
Wednesday, Dec. 4 (8-9 p.m. ET). The star-studded holiday special is
hosted by “Today” anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and
Natalie Morales, and will feature performances from Mary J. Blige, Toni
Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Goo Goo
Dolls, Ariana Grande and Jewel.

The 81st annual holiday
extravaganza will feature a 76-foot Norway Spruce that is 47 feet in
diameter and weighs approximately 12 tons. The tree is estimated to be
about 75 years old. More than 45,000 energy-efficient multi-colored LED
lights will be strung to decorate the tree, topped with a 9 ½ foot wide
LED-lit Swarovski crystal star.

The tradition of the Rockefeller
Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in
1933, the inaugural tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front
of the then eight-month-old RCA Building (the current GE Building). The
Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the
Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond. NBC-TV televised the tree
lighting for the first time in 1951 on “The Kate Smith Show” and as part
of the nationwide “Howdy Doody” television show from 1953-55.

to this year's primetime telecast, an additional live hour of the
special (7-8 p.m. ET) will be broadcast by the following NBC stations:
WNBC/New York; WCAU/Philadelphia; KSNV/Las Vegas; WBBH/Fort Myers, Fla.;
KHNL/Honolulu, Hawaii; WNWO/Toledo, Ohio; WTWC/Tallahassee, Fla.;
WVIR/Charlottesville, Va., WETM/Elmira, N.Y.; WGBC/Meridian, Miss.;
KHBC/Hilo, Hawaii; and KOGG/Wailuku, Hawaii.

"Christmas in
Rockefeller Center" is produced by Brad Lachman Productions with Lachman
serving as executive producer. Bill Bracken will produce.


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.  Follow Lauer on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mlauer

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. 
Follow Guthrie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SavannahGuthrie

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.  Follow Roker on Twitter at

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. Follow Morales on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nmoralesNBC


J. Blige – Iconic Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and
philanthropist, Mary J. Blige is a figure of inspiration, transformation
and empowerment making Blige one of the defining voices of the
contemporary music era. With a track record of eight multi-platinum
albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 29 nominations), a 2012
Golden Globe nomination, and four American Music Awards, Blige is a
global superstar. And in the ensuing years, the singer/songwriter has
attracted an intensely loyal fan base—responsible for propelling
worldwide sales of more than 50 million albums.  In October 2013, Blige
for Matriarch Records/Verve Records/Interscope Records released her 11th
studio album titled “A Mary Christmas,” making it her first-ever
holiday album and collaboration with legendary producer and Chairman of
The Verve Music Group, David Foster. Blige's holiday album features her
soulful interpretation of classic holiday tunes including "Have Yourself
A Merry Little Christmas" and "The Christmas Song." Blige is joined by a
number of A-list guests, starting with Barbra Streisand, who duets with
Blige on "When You Wish Upon A Star," along with Jessie J on "Do You
Hear What I Hear.” The Clark Sisters join Blige on "The First Noel," and
"Noche de Paz" is a Spanish collaboration with Mark Anthony.  Next,
Blige will star as Platinum Fro, a mysterious guardian angel in the Kasi
Lemmon-directed “Black Nativity,” a contemporary adaptation of Langston
Hughes’ 1961 play. The holiday musical film drama will hit theatres in
November 27, 2013 with an all-star cast including Forest Whitaker,
Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, and Tyrese Gibson.

Toni Braxton –
The distinctive, sultry vocals of six-time Grammy Award-winning
recording artist Toni Braxton - singer, songwriter, record producer, and
philanthropist - have been celebrated internationally ever since she
was first introduced to the world by Babyface and L.A. Reid in 1992. 
Her self-titled debut album released the next year was a 10
million-selling phenomenon that generated Braxton’s first Grammys in
1994, for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal (“Another Sad
Love Song”).  The album’s longevity led Braxton to win her second Best
Female R&B Vocal Grammy the following year (for “Breathe Again”). 
Her second album, “Secrets,” arrived in 1996, and history repeated
itself with 15 million worldwide sales.  At the Grammy Awards in 1997,
Braxton became only the second woman in history (beside Dionne Warwick)
to win Best Female Pop Vocal (“Un-break My Heart”) and Best Female
R&B Vocal (“You’re Makin’ Me High”) in the same year.  She returned
to the Grammy podium in 2001 to claim another Best Female R&B Vocal
award (“He Wasn’t Man Enough,” from the double-platinum album “The
Heat”). Into the millennium, Braxton blossomed into an acting career
with Broadway musical roles in “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aida,” and a
dramatic turn in the Lifetime movie “Twist of Faith.”  She and her
sisters currently enjoy huge success in “Braxton Family Values,” one of
WE tv’s flagship reality series, which returns for a fourth season in
November 2013.  Raising her two sons Denim and Diezel, Braxton balances
her career demands with the high priorities of family, heath, public
service, and charity work, particularly on behalf of the two diseases
that have impacted her family directly - she is living with Lupus and
her youngest child is living with Autism.  Early detection and
intervention has helped both Braxtons to be role models on how to live
normal lives with these conditions.  Braxton is also a proud
spokesperson for Autism Speaks.  She and Babyface will release “Love,
Marriage & Divorce,” their first album of duets together, in
February 2014.

Mariah Carey – Mariah Carey is the best-selling
female artist of all time with more than 200 million albums sold and a
ground-breaking career total of 224 #1 Billboard hits, including an
unprecedented 18 #1 Hot 100 singles - the most of any solo artist in
history.  Her brand new single, "#Beautiful," a collaboration with
Miguel, has won critical raves and is already #1 in over 30 countries
and a certified radio smash. "#Beautiful" is the lead single from
Carey’s new album for Island Def Jam Music Group. With her world
renowned voice and her award-winning songwriting and producing, she has
clearly earned her place at the top of music's pantheon. As a
singer/songwriter/producer, she has been recognized with five Grammy
Awards, nine American Music Awards, Billboard's "Artist of the Decade"
Award,  the World Music Award for "World's Best Selling Female Artist of
the Millennium," and BMI's "Icon Award" for her outstanding
achievements in songwriting, to name a few. Carey's ongoing impact
transcends the music industry to leave an indelible imprint upon the
world at large. A Congressional Award recipient, Carey has generously
donated her time and energy to a range of philanthropic causes near to
her heart including Save the Music, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, World
Hunger Relief, and the Elton John Aids Foundation, among many others. A
tremendous supporter of children's charities, both domestic and
international, Carey, in partnership with the Fresh Air Fund founded
Camp Mariah, a retreat for inner city children to explore career

Kelly Clarkson -- Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson
has released five studio albums (“Thankful,” “Breakaway,” “My
December,” “All I Ever Wanted,” “Stronger”), one Greatest Hits album,
sold over 20 million albums worldwide, 10 million albums in the U.S. and
has had 10 singles in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles
Chart. She is the recipient of three Grammy Awards, four American Music
Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music
Awards, one Country Music Association Award and 12 Billboard Music
Awards. Clarkson’s last studio effort “Stronger” debuted at #2 on both
the Billboard Top 200 and Digital Albums Chart. The album produced the
smash singles, “Mr. Know It All” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
which marks Clarkson’s 9th and 10th Top 10 hit. “Stronger (What Doesn’t
Kill You)” was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart for two consecutive weeks
(three weeks total) marking her third #1 on the Hot 100 chart. 
Clarkson’s “Stronger” was certified Platinum by the R.I.A.A. and won the
Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. She spent the summer touring with
Maroon 5 and recording her very first Christmas album, “Wrapped In Red,”
which was released in October and features five original tracks as well
as some Christmas favorites.  Clarkson was recently nominated for two
CMA Awards as well as two ACA Awards.

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds --
Ten time Grammy Award-winning recording artist Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds
has been revolutionizing the contemporary pop/Urban music landscape
ever since scoring consecutive multi-platinum landmark albums with
“Tender Lover” (1989), “For the Cool in You” (1993) and “The Day”
(1996).  Edmonds is the recipient of numerous awards, including Soul
Train Music Awards, BMI Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and American Music
Awards.  He received the third BET Walk of Fame Award (following
previous honorees Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston), BET’s
Entertainer of the Year at the First Annual BET Awards, and most
recently was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Edmonds’
caring and generosity has earned him several accolades, including the
Essence Award for Excellence, The City of Hope Award and Variety
Magazine’s “Top of the Town” Award.  As co-founder with L.A. Reid of
Atlanta’s LaFace Records in 1989, Edmonds nurtured the careers of
megastars TLC, OutKast, Goodie Mob, Usher, and Toni Braxton.  Into the
’90s and ’00s, Edmonds lent his talents to an abundance of hits with
other artists, resulting in more than 125 Top 10 R&B and pop hits,
42 R&B #1 hits, and 51 Top 10 Pop hits (including 16 #1’s) under his
belt, which have generated cumulative single and album sales of more
than 500 million units worldwide. Most recent production work with other
artists includes Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Keri Hilson, Ledisi,
Ariana Grande and Aretha Franklin.  Babyface is also an active touring
artist, performing concerts across the U.S. and around the world on a
regular basis.  He and Toni Braxton will release “Love, Marriage &
Divorce,” their first album of duets together, in February 2014.

Goo Dolls – Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Goo Goo Dolls recently
released their 10th studio album, “Magnetic.”  The album debuted at #8
on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, and their new single, "Come To Me," is
Top 20 and on the air in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco,
Dallas, Houston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and many more.
The Buffalo trio celebrated the album's release with a performance on
“Good Morning America,” and they have recently appeared on “The Tonight
Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Live with Kelly & Michael,” “CBS
Saturday Morning,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and “Rachael
Ray.” Goo Goo Dolls have sold over 10 million albums worldwide, with 14
Top 10 Radio hits, more than any other artist in the history of the Hot
AC format. They are the only artist to have three songs on Billboard's
"Top 100 Songs from 1992-2012" including the Number One slot, for
"Iris." John Rzeznik has been honored with the Songwriters Hall of Fame
Hal David Starlight Award and they have been inducted into Guitar
Center's Historic Hollywood Rock Walk.

Ariana Grande – Ariana
Grande has become a bona fide pop phenomenon.  2x-platinum single “The
Way” initially debuted Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and seized the #1
spot on iTunes Overall Songs Chart as soon as it was released.
Meanwhile, the track also resonated immensely with the Latin audience.
The single’s Spanish version climbed to #5 at Latin Radio, showing that
she could not only bridge the generational gap but cultural barriers as
well. Everything laid the groundwork for YOURS TRULY to actually reach
#1 on the iTunes Pop Albums Chart and on the Overall Albums Chart based
on pre-orders alone. Yours Truly arrived at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.
It was the first time since January 2010 that a debut record from a
female artist topped the chart. Not only did it bow at #1 on the Top
200, in addition, it was the #1 album on iTunes Overall Albums Chart and
#1 on the Digital Albums Chart.

Jewel - From the remote ranch of
her Alaskan youth to the triumph of international stardom, four-time
Grammy nominee Jewel, hailed by the New York Times as a “songwriter
bursting with talents,” has enjoyed career longevity rare among her
generation of artists. Whether alone with her guitar or fronting a band
of ace musicians, Jewel has always been a charismatic live performer,
earning the respect of other singer-songwriters such as Merle Haggard,
Bob Dylan and Neil Young, who, not only invited her to open their shows,
but mentored her in the early phases of her career. After a tremendous
amount of success as a singer-songwriter and over 27 million albums
sold, Jewel released a Greatest Hits album in 2013. The album features a
collection of her most known songs as well as two new duets with Kelly
Clarkson and The Pistol Annies, in addition to a new track called “Two
Hearts Breaking.” She also starred as June Carter Cash in the Lifetime
biopic “Ring of Fire,” which earned four Emmy nominations. In December
of this year Jewel will join NBC’s “The Sing Off” as a new judge as well
as release her much anticipated follow-up holiday album, “Let It
Snow.”  The acclaimed American singer-songwriter-poet will not only
debut 10 holiday favorites but will also feature two new original songs,
“Blue Crystal Glow” and “It’s Christmastime.”  Produced alongside some
of the music industry’s greatest composers, Steve Skinner, Robbie Kondor
and Joe Mardin, the album features country, indie-pop roots with a
classical twist.  Vince Gill, Country Music Hall of Famer and 20-time
Grammy® Award winner, also joins Jewel on the guitar for an
extraordinary rendition of “White Christmas.”  Jewel currently lives on a
working ranch in Stephenville, Texas with her husband, World Champion
bull-riding superstar, Ty Murray and their baby Kase Townes Murray.

with a live broadcast from Rockefeller Center in New York City on
Wednesday, Dec. 4 (8-9 p.m. ET). The star-studded holiday special is
hosted by “Today” anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and
Natalie Morales, and will feature performances from Mary J. Blige, Toni
Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Goo Goo
Dolls, Ariana Grande and Jewel.

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