NBCU News Group Launches ‘Inspiring America’ Special

After a tough year, NBCUniversal’s news operations aim to honor people who provide inspiration.

NBCU News Group will launch a new content franchise designed to call attention to influential individuals. “Inspiring America” includes an annual primetime TV event. “Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List,” thatwill air on Saturday, May 1, at 8 p.m. on both NBC and its Spanish-language counterpart, Telemundo. The event will be co-hosted by Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, and this year will honor Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bubba Wallace, Becky Hammon, José Andrés and Claire Babineaux-Fontenot.

The company intends to make the special an annual, live, in-person event. Other NBCU News Group personnel, including José Díaz-Balart, Craig Melvin, Vicky Nguyen and Shepard Smith, will take part in the special. The “Inspiring America” segment originated as a series on “NBC Nightly News” five years ago.

The concept sounds similar to “Heroes,” an annual CNN event that calls attention to people who make a difference in their communities and has been around since 2007. The program, hosted in recent years by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa, honors ten different people who are selected each fall after a group of nominees are presented to CNN’s audience. NBCUniversal and CNN represent what may be the industry’s two biggest news entities, and can bring more resources to bear on topics than many rivals.

“As we all begin to heal after an enormously challenging year, it’s important that we find ways to connect with and inspire one another. That is the very foundation of ‘Inspiring America’ and why it has resonated as a popular signature series on ‘Nightly News’” says Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCU News Group, in a prepared statement. “We need uplifting stories now more than ever, and we are uniquely positioned to elevate them into a major franchise reaching millions more across our unparalleled portfolio.”

After the event’s initial airing on NBC and Telemundo, encores will be presented on May 2 at different times on CNBC and MSNBC.  The special will also stream on NBC News Now, the company’s live-streaming service and be available via Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming video hub.

NBCUniversal will release its complete “2021 Inspiration List” in the week leading up to the primetime airing of the special.