TODAY's Takeaway

TODAY's Takeaway: Dolly's big reveal, Jenna's farewell (for now)

Aug. 21, 2013 at 10:36 PM ET

On TODAY: Jenna signs off, Matt harmonizes and Dolly reveals big news.
TODAY; NBC Sports Network via YouTube
On TODAY: Jenna signs off, Matt harmonizes and Dolly reveals big news.

1. Dolly Parton invited Willie down to the Smoky Mountains for a big announcement: Dollywood is getting a $300 million upgrade.

In an exclusive interview, Willie asked the legendary singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur when she realized she’d “made it.”

“I feel like I'm just startin',” replied the 67-year-old. 

(Isn’t she the best?)

Video: Dolly Parton is not only a superstar actress and singer, but also the owner of a theme park bearing her name. Now she’s investing over $300 million into new Dollywood projects that will add thousands of jobs. TODAY’s Willie Geist reports.

2. TODAY fans don’t like tipping. Instead, according to a TODAY.com survey, they think American restaurants should bundle gratuity in their overall bill. Apparently restaurants agree: Some are introducing policies where service is included – no tipping necessary.

Celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia showed her skepticism of the possible shift this morning on the plaza:

“I grew up spending my summers in Europe, where it’s based on this type of policy that they’re working on,” she told Savannah. “The service is not as good as in America.”

Video: If you go to a high-end restaurant, you may get a surprise note on your bill asking you not to tip your waiter. TODAY’s Erica Hill reports.

3. The father of Newtown victim Daniel Barden said the images of Tuesday’s school shooting in Georgia hit home.

“It is frighteningly similar,’’ Mark Barden told Savannah. “I just feel so deeply for those parents and those children that had to endure that horrific scenario, and we’re just so thankful that everybody emerged OK from that.”

Video: Mark Barden, who lost his son, Daniel, in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting last December, reacts to the news of a man opening fire at a school in Atlanta and says that school shootings are “an epidemic.”

4. Jenna Wolfe is due any day now, which means maternity leave is starting on her blog, too.

“My life's going to change this week," she wrote. "A new word will be added to my bio: Mom."

Update:  Jenna's life sure did change. Welcome to the world, Harper Estelle Wolfeld Gosk, born Aug. 21 at 7:31 p.m. Congratulations, Stephanie and Jenna!

5. Faith Hill is out. Are Al, Matt, Savannah and Natalie in? The anchors “auditioned” for the "Sunday Night Football" open in a new promo for the upcoming NFL season in (faux) four-part harmony. What do you think? Will they get the gig?

Video: It’s almost time for football, and to promote “Sunday Night Football,” NBC personalities perform tongue-in-cheek auditions to sing the show’s opening theme – including Natalie, Al, Savannah and Matt, who demonstrate a surprising harmony.

Tomorrow on TODAY: Fan Appreciation Week continues, Jill Martin has Steals and Deals and more.

And that’s TODAY’s Takeaway!

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