Hoda Kotb has been announced as Matt Lauer’s permanent replacement on Today and will continue co-anchoring the morning program with Savannah Guthrie. News of this comes after Hoda has filled in for Lauer since he was fired by NBC in November over allegations of sexual misconduct.
CNN reports that Guthrie was thrilled about the news, telling viewers on Tuesday’s segment of Today that this has to be “the most popular decision NBC News has ever made.” The anchor, who’s worked with Lauer on the 7 a.m. hour of Today since 2012, continued that there is no one else she’d rather be “sitting next to in 2018” than Hoda.
Ratings for Today have skyrocketed since Matt Lauer was fired, and Hoda Kotb filling in for him has been a success. The teaming of Hoda and Savannah Guthrie proves they have solid chemistry, and viewers are staying tuned in despite Lauer’s abrupt departure. Hoda has hosted the 10 a.m. hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford since 2008, so she’s well established among viewers.
NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced Hoda as Matt’s permanent replacement in a memo just before Today went on the air January 2. In the release, Lack wrote that Hoda has “seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running.”
He continued in the memo that Hoda and Savannah have an “undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of Today.” He recognized Savannah as being a “rock” for the network when times get tough. The NBC chairman praised both women for their handling of Lauer’s firing, which was a shock to the organization upon learning of his termination moments before showtime back in November.
Hoda being announced as Matt Lauer’s replacement on Today won’t affect her duties on the 10 a.m. hour with Kathie Lee.
In the days and weeks following Lauer’s firing, speculations were flying over who’d replace him. Megyn Kelly, who hosts the 9 a.m. hour, was immediately presumed to be a candidate, but executives reportedly were happy keeping the former Fox News journalist right where she is. It was unknown if NBC bosses were looking for a new face to bring aboard or pulls someone from their organization to fill Matt’s shoes. They saw something special with Savannah and Hoda co-anchoring the first two hours of Today and decided to keep a formula that was clearly working. News of Hoda being Today’s permanent replacement is good news to faithful viewers who enjoy their synergy.
— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) January 2, 2018
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb are People Magazine’s cover story this week. Hoda says in the interview that when you “click” with someone, it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman. She thinks part of what works in her pairing with Savannah is they’re like sisters, and she says “everybody wants a sister.”
Savannah shares that the morning of November 29 was so difficult when everyone learned Matt was fired, but she and Hoda were “in it together” and pulled through like the family they are at the studio.
As Savannah explains, it was the most “natural and comforting” feeling to have Hoda right beside her when it was revealed Lauer would no longer be on the show. Viewers felt the same way, and as she says, “no one wanted that to stop.”