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NBC's Lester Holt preps for bustle and 'brrr' of Minnesota Super Bowl

Lester Holt/AP photo

Don't be surprised to find Lester Holt taking a stroll to chat up strangers and get a lay of the land during Super Bowl Weekend in the Twin Cities, no matter how low the temperatures dip.

"Wait a second, How cold are we talking here?" said the NBC News anchor Wednesday, shortly after signing off from his weeknight broadcast. "The weather is part of what makes this Super Bowl interesting. It sounds like Minneapolis is embracing the idea. 'Yeah, we're a cold-weather place and we love it.'"

Holt, who will read headlines from Nicollet Mall on Friday, Feb.2,  and inside U.S. Bank Stadium the following evening, has some experience with frigid weather, spending part of his youth in Anchorage and working out of Chicago for 14 years. But he hasn't logged much time in the Twin Cities.

"This is really embarrassing, but I've never been to the Mall of America," said Holt, 58, who also hopes to take in some jazz music during any time off.

Holt, who will be covering his first Super Bowl as the lead NBC anchor, will be racking up the frequent-flier miles in upcoming weeks. In addition to shuttling from New York City to Washington DC for the State of the Union Address, he'll be in South Korea for the Winter Olympics, which is also being covered by his network.

"Part of the signature of 'NBC Nightly News' is taking the broadcast on the road a lot, whether it's for news or a fun, exciting event," he said. "The NFL is a major news story right now with the anthem protest, which caught the attention of the president. The concussion story remains a major story. The Super Bowl is when the spotlight is on the league and it's a good time for us to be there."

Holt admits his plans may get thrown for a loop if President Trump invites him to the White House that weekend for an in-person interview. In recent years, the leader of the country has traditionally agreed to a one-on-one interview during Super Bowl weekend with someone from the network that has the rights to the game. Holt said discussions between NBC and the White House are taking place, but that nothing has been determined yet.

Justin Timberlake talks Janet Jackson in interview ahead of Super Bowl LII

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake made peace after their infamous 2004 Super Bowl incident, he says. / David Phillip, AP

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake made peace after their infamous 2004 Super Bowl incident, he says. / David Phillip, AP

Whether or not it increases the chances of Janet Jackson surprising us in Minneapolis during Super Bowl week, Justin Timberlake revealed in a new interview that he and his counterpart (victim?) in the 2004 “wardrobe malfunction” halftime show incident maintained a good relationship after it happened.

“I don't know that a lot of people know that," Timberlake told Zane Lowe for Beats One. “I don't think it's my job to do that, because you value the relationships that you do have with people."

“Naturally, that’s something we talked about,” he said of Jackson in the interview (a clip is posted below). “To be honest, it wasn’t too much of a conversation. It’s just one of those things where you go, like… “Yeah, what do you want me to say? We’re not going to do that again.”

He also seemed to ever-so-vaguely take the blame for the controversy in the Lowe interview: “I had my wires crossed, and it’s just something that you have to look back on and go like, ‘OK, well, you can’t change what’s happened, but you can move forward and learn from it.'”

The infamous stunt, wherein Timberlake revealed one of Jackson’s breasts in front of a kinda-big TV audience, has been a topic of conversation again ever since Timberlake was confirmed in October as the the halftime show headliner for Super Bowl LII, taking place Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

For her part, Jackson has stayed mum as Timberlake’s halftime show nears.

Not only will Timberlake be in town that week – he’s also due at the American Express party at Prince’s Paisley Park on Feb. 1 – so will Jackson’s longtime cohorts Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who are heading up the free Super Bowl Live concert series on Nicollet Mall. The renowned producers brought Jackson to Minneapolis often to record some of her biggest hits in the late-‘80s and ‘90s.

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