Gretchen Carlson will guest host the Today Show on Tuesday, January 3, in the 9 a.m. hour, her first anchoring role since exiting the Fox News Channel last summer.
Carlson, who announced the gig on her Twitter feed, was formerly the anchor of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson (and Fox & Friends co-host before that) on FNC prior to the expiration of her contract in June. Shortly thereafter, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against now-former CEO Roger Ailes, following which she later banked a reported $20 million out-of-court settlement from Fox.
In late July, Ailes left the high-rated cable channel that he founded, reportedly with a $40 million severance check. “Ailes has since resigned from the network after dozens of women came forward, both in public and in an internal investigation, and alleged that they had faced similar harassment,” Politico noted.
Parenthetically, former Today Show host Katie Couric is scheduled to guest host for the entire week in a reunion with ex-colleague Matt Lauer.
In a lawsuit filed in New Jersey Superior Court, Carlson, 50, claimed that she was wrongfully terminated on June 23, as a result of allegedly refusing Ailes’ sexual advances.
Ailes denied the allegations and insisted at the time that her contract went unrenewed because of low ratings.
Separately, Ailes and Fox have also denied sexual harassment claims made by former Outnumbered co-host and fan favorite Andrea Tantaros, whose legal case is still pending.
A graduate of Stanford University and a former CBS News correspondent, Gretchen Carlson — who was crowned Miss America in 1989 — went to work for FNC in 2005.
Evidently, Gretchen’s Today Show hosting role on NBC is a one-off event. “An insider tells Variety that Carlson is guest hosting just this one time and is not in talks for a larger role at Today. Her announcements, which she teased on Twitter, are not NBC-related, according to our source,” Variety explained.
In November, Carlson sat down for an interview on ABC News’ 20/20 program about her case, but apart from that, the Today Show appearance serves as her reemergence on television in an anchor role.
It’s unclear how Today intends to orchestrate the 9 a.m. slot moving forward, Variety added.
“The 9 a.m. hour of Today has been in flux ever since the departure of Billy Bush, who came under widespread scrutiny for the now-infamous leaked audio tapes with President-Elect Donald Trump, in which Bush and Trump were heard making vulgar comments about women. Bush was hired to co-anchor the 9 a.m. hour of Today just weeks prior to his controversial exit. Since, the hour has been hosted by Tamron Hall, Al Roker and usually a guest.”
“Carlson gave an interview last month to ABC’s 20/20 in which she offered grim details of harassment and assault she suffered at the hands of male television executives at the start of her career,” the Daily Mail chronicled. “Since the lawsuit, Carlson is now waging a public campaign to raise awareness against sexual harassment.”
In a New York Times Op-Ed last month, Carlson called on men and women to work together to stop sexual harassment. “This is not only a women’s issue. It’s a societal issue.”
Prior to her departure from Fox, Gretchen Carlson published a memoir called Getting Real.
In another media industry development, ex-Fox host Greta Van Susteren is supposedly set to take over the 6 p.m. Eastern time slot on MSNBC, The Hill and other news outlets have reported.
Parenthetically, as of year-end 2016, Fox News is the most-watched channel on basic cable and the fifth most watched overall on TV after the broadcast networks, TV Newser chronicled.
Will you be tuning in to the Today Show on January 3 to see guest host Gretchen Carlson?
[Featured Image by Richard Drew/AP Image]