A secret, steamy relationship between one of NBC’s best-known on-air personalities and a network executive has been put on ice because the duo fear their naughty behavior will be exposed by eavesdropping Russian agents at the Olympics.
Confidenti@l has learned exclusively that the exec, who admits to a 20-year-long, on-and-off-again shagfest turned sexting bonanza, is frustrated the fun will be on hiatus as long as one of them — we won’t say who — is covering the Games.
“Everything is being monitored and any little secrets or fun staffers have is at risk of being exposed,” says a well-placed insider.
NBC’s Olympic staff has been warned in a memo to watch what they email and text during the games, because Russian federal law allows for “the monitoring, retention and analysis of all data that traverses Russian communication networks, including Internet browsing, email messages, telephone calls and fax transmissions.”
An NBC rep said the memo was similar to others the company distributed to employees before the 2008 games in Beijing, where communications with the outside world are closely monitored by the government.
“Standard operating procedure for us in today’s digital world is to remind employees that privacy laws around the world are different, and to act accordingly,” the rep said.
There has been great concern about the security of the Games among the competitors and press arriving in Russia. NBC is addressing the issue, and its employees are not supposed to leave secure areas without bodyguards. But in regards to email, the network is stressing that security is not just physical.
“The staff have been coached over and over about the major concerns,” our original insider says. “We have emergency numbers and have been told what to do if we see anything suspicious. Additionally, we have been advised to not leave the Olympic Village without an escort and to not bring clothing, bags or anything that identifies us as Americans.”
The Sochi Games will be the first headed by former “Today” show honcho Jim Bell since he moved over to NBC Sports. At the London Olympics in 2012, Bell oversaw the “Today” team and its coverage. But the current event is being treated much differently, we’re told.
“The staff enjoyed exploring the city,” says our source. “In London we went to pubs, and in China we saw the sites at night, but in Russia we will not be leaving the Olympic zone. It’s like a military zone. It’s scary stuff and will change the coverage. We all knew we have to be careful, but now having to watch what we text or email; this is something else.”