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Ray and Janay Rice meet NBC's 'Today' show mega-marketing machine

Baltimore Sun TV/Media critic, David Zurawik, speaks Friday about the NBC Today interview with Ray Rice and his family conducted by Matt Lauer.

NBC needed to bag a headline-grabbing interview after rival ABC got Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson first this week, and it did just that with Matt Lauer talking to Ray and Janay Rice before anyone else on TV as the former Ravens running back was reinstated in the NFL Friday.

NBC released a short promo clip late Friday of the interview that's scheduled to air Monday and Tuesday morning on "Today." Short as it is, this is an intriguing bit of video in several ways.

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First is the family imagery from the still photographs NBC has released of the interview: Ray and Janay, her with their child in her arms, and her parents all standing in the kitchen. The image says: This is a family together, a family restored.

It is also interesting as to how Janay and Ray invited the media -- in this case "Today" in the person of Lauer and camera crew -- into their home after she had so bitterly denounced the media when he was suspended indefinitely and dropped by the Ravens.

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You have to be impressed with the marketing of the interview as "Today" tries to gain back the morning-show ratings throne that it had lost to "Good Morning America."

It started with the video bite today following the announcement that a judge had ruled and the NFL agreed that Rice can return to the league if any team wants him.

Another video from the interview will be released Sunday, with clips airing on 'Meet the Press,' 'Nightly News' and 'Sunday Night Football' before it airs Monday and Tuesday on 'Today,' according to the network.

Hype does not start to describe what NBC will do with this interview on every platform imaginable this weekend.

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I do wonder what the terms of the deal are that brought "Today" and the Rice family together. The deals the morning shows make for such interviews are often eyebrow raisers.

Check it out here (see video in "related" to the right).

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