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New weekend 'Today' show hosts

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Here’s a TV fix for anybody who can’t sleep in on Saturdays and is too old for cartoons: NBC has launched a Saturday edition of Today, co-anchored by network newcomers Jackie Nespral and Scott Simon, who have also succeeded Mary Alice Williams and Garrick Utley on Sunday Today. Though the title of anchor implies staying in one place, Nespral, formerly an anchor and reporter for Spanish-language networks Univision and Television Marti, and Simon, a reporter and host for National Public Radio and PBS, are better described by the phrase perpetual motion.

Four years ago, right after giving birth to her daughter, Nespral (a former Orange Bowl Queen) went back to graduate school while working three broadcasting jobs in her native Miami. One was hosting T.V. Mujer (TV Woman), which was similar in format to Today. ”I would interview heads of state, then do gardening spots,” says Nespral, 26. ”I’m sure that diversity got me this job.” She’ll relocate to New York with her daughter for Today; her husband, anesthesiologist Armando Hassun, will jet-commute from Miami to see them.

Simon, 40 and single, has logged more than his share of frequent-flyer miles, but NPR ”never let us keep them,” he says, then asks, ”Hey, do you know NBC’s policy?” (The network allows employees to keep miles.) In his 15 years on air, Simon has covered five wars and broadcast from four continents and every state but Hawaii. ”I was to go there,” he says, ”to report on what I was told was the U.S.’ last leper colony.” When the story didn’t pan out, he saw no reason to go. ”My friends were like, ‘With all the beautiful things to see in Hawaii — that’s typical of you.”’

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