TODAY   |  August 25, 2013

Erica, Lester join NBC Page Program for a day

The program made famous by Kenneth the Page on “30 Rock” celebrates its 80th anniversary by putting Erica Hill and Lester Holt to the NBC trivia test.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 80th anniversary of the nbc page program. gives college graduates a chance to work behind the scenes for up to a year here at nbcu.

>> it's an incredible experience. this morning that loud noise you hear are the more than 100 pages current and form er who are joining us on the plaza, all of these lovely people in green t-shirts back here. they're here to help us celebrate. before we get to that, we wanted to given you a little history of the program and also lester and i thought even if we couldn't have made the cut before, they have to let us in now so we tried our hand at being pages for a day. 30 rock may have introduce d tv audiences to the nbc page --

>> don't tell me i don't have a dream, sir. i am living my dream.

>> but the page program has been introducing aspiring broadcasters to the business since 1933 .

>> the nbc guides would have to be graduate engineers.

>> among the program's successful alums our own willard skart, kate jackson , and tv host regis philbin .

>> i got a break on the " eddie fisher show." walked up the aisle to get into the elevator so they had a page and it was me, me, regis, holding the elevator for eddie fisher . regis was on tv. nbc start ed it all 80 years ago. i'm proud to say i was part of it.

>> nbc has grown a lot since then and so have the page opportunities.

>> my page say assignment is technical operations with nbc .

>> i'm on assignment.

>> right now on assignment with " morning joe ."

>> to say the program is selective is an understatement. it's harder than getting into harvard. of the 16,000 that apply each year fewer than 2% make the cut. i'm living proof . i applied back in the 1970s only to be quickly rejected. best revenge , i'm an anchorman at nbc news.

>> an anchorman who has a suit that almost perfectly matches the page uniform. so why not try being a page for a day?

>> erica, you look perfect. lester, we do need to change your tie.

>> you don't like my tie?

>> i love your tie. but this goes with the uniform.

>> okay.

>> i'll hold your manual.

>> with my tie ib you sorted it was on to the big test. almost 200 pages of material every page has to prove they know.

>> he definitely has the advantage. he's been here, what, 13 years? the man has three shows. he could run the building.

>> okay. well, here we go. how much did the current studio cost and when was it finished?

>> september of '06. and a lot of money.

>> $25 million.

>> really? i think i put $1 million.

>> how many lights are in the studio?

>> 300.

>> yes.

>> what's your answer, lesser?

>> it was 72 but i was east only counting the lights on me.

>> she studied. when did matt lauer become a co-anchor on "today."

>> i said '97 by but i think it's '94.

>> you've got it.

>> we mew it was in '97.

>> of course we did. all that history and trivia is essential because pages are considered ambassadors here. they are often the first person people meet at nbc .

>> and they, or are on this day, we, are the guides on it this popular tour.

>> it's kind of fun for us.

>> i think i need a lot of help. do you have a trick for this?

>> these are tricky.

>> is this new page hazing? just a little? it's okay. i can take it. the neither of us had been on the tour but luckily these paying customers hadn't either.

>> it's official. once you get your stuff, you can come on this way. thankfully we started the tour in a place we know well, the floor housing the nbc news headquarters. well, welcome to our studio. this is where " nbc nightly news" is done. that's the teleprompter so we don't have to memorize the news or read from the papers in front of us.

>> and this is also reflected so it's reflected up onto this.

>> so far so good. the next stop, the "today" show. normally we would take you right to the "today" show studio. since erica and i work here, a little familiar with this place, we thought it might be fun for you to see the control room.

>> everybody's in here making sure the right video gets on at the right time.

>> typically we have a director who occupies one of these chairs, works with an assistant director. he has the road map are for the show.

>> so this is studio 1a .

>> it's a very fun place to be.

>> a favorite moment?

>> we had lionel richie on and he invited all of us here to participate, so he handed us maraccas and we danced.

>> the moment of truth . i need to ask you how we did and i hope you'll be kind. [ applause