Aug. 21, 2013 at 10:36 PM ET
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?)
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.”
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.”
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."
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?
Tomorrow on TODAY: Fan Appreciation Week continues, Jill Martin has Steals and Deals and more.
And that’s TODAY’s Takeaway!