Carson Daly Joins ‘Today’ As Guest Host

Carson Daly "TODAY"

TODAY announced Friday that former TRL host Carson Daly will be joining the 9am hour of the struggling NBC morning show as a guest host this coming week.

Don Nash, TODAY‘s executive producer tweeted the coming week’s lineup on Friday. The third hour will be occupied by Willie Geist and Al Roker, while Carson Daly will sub for Natalie Morales.

Daly’s spot marks a departure from the normal way of choosing substitute co-hosts from NBC News. Lester Holt and Erica Hill, “Weekend Today” co-hosts, sat in for the third hour on Friday, for example. MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall also substitutes on TODAY, and Willie Geist did the same before being promoted to the third hour full time in November.

Daly currently hosts NBC‘s “The Voice.”

Other TODAY rumors suggest that the show is considering adding another person to the lineup due to Matt Lauer’s poor public image. Daly might be “auditioning” for a more permanent role on the morning show.

“Even if the person appeared only on the 9am hour, which Mr. Lauer is not a part of, such an addition would make TODAY more of an ensemble show, seemingly less dependent on his star power,” wrote Brian Stelter of the NY Times.

TODAY still hasn’t recovered from the negative publicity surrounding Ann Curry’s departure last June. NBC Universal News Group has been changing things up non-stop in an effort to improve the show’s ratings, and recent remarks from chairman Patricia Fili-Krushel seem to indicate that they’re still working things out.

“When you are No. 1, it’s easy to stop taking chances,” she said earlier this month, criticizing TODAY‘s apparent aversion to risk-taking. “I think we just stopped innovating.”

Do you think that Carson Daly could be moving toward a permanent position at TODAY?