Hoda Kotb will replace Matt Lauer as the full-time co-anchor of the ‘Today Show’

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The last time I wrote about Matt Lauer, I mentioned that since Lauer’s departure – forced departure – from NBC, the Today Show’s ratings have actually improved. It’s one the saddest postscripts to the Lauer debacle, because the bros at NBC News believed for years and years that Lauer was their guy, Lauer was “worth” the exorbitant paychecks, that he was the one driving viewership. That’s why NBC News honchos gave Lauer free rein with his locked-door rape-button and his orchestration of Ann Curry’s dismissal. As it turns out, the Today Show was always bigger than Matt Lauer. As it turns out, the ratings are still good and people still tune in. So instead of replacing Lauer with another dude, NBC is just going to stick with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.

Hoda Kotb is officially Today‘s new co-anchor. It’s been a time of controversy and change at NBC’s beloved Today show, but Kotb and Savannah Guthrie aren’t about to let turmoil dent their morning cheer. In an exclusive interview for this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday, both are bracingly upbeat — and these women really (really) like each other.

“When you click with someone, man, woman, it doesn’t matter. If it works, it works,” Kotb says of their synergy. “We’re sort of like sisters, and everybody wants a sister.”

That friendship has carried Today through the rockiest period in its 67-year history. On Nov. 29, the show’s star Matt Lauer — a friend of both women — was fired for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior. (Multiple sources describe the cause for termination as an affair that violated NBC’s terms of employment, but in the wake of the news, allegations that included lewd behavior and sexual assault also surfaced.) Kotb continued to fill in for Lauer in the days following his dismissal, and the network liked what what it saw.

”We’re very fortunate to have someone like Hoda who brings immense talent and tremendous positive energy, and then on top of that happens to have wonderful chemistry with Savannah,” says NBC News Group chairman Andy Lack. “It makes this a decision that everyone can embrace and feel terrific about.”

Adds Guthrie: “It was such a shock to wake up one day and not have Matt, but it was the most natural and comforting thing in the world to have Hoda right there. No one wanted that to stop.”

Just before the holidays, NBC execs offered the job to Kotb, who will continue hosting the show’s 10 o’clock hour alongside Kathie Lee Gifford for the time being.

“Weirdly it doesn’t feel like the headline because we’ve worked together for a long time,” Kotb says.

“We’re grateful to NBC for not having some old fashioned notion about what should be,” Guthrie adds. “I think they looked at it and said, ‘Why would you change this? This is working, it feels good.’”

As for Lauer? “We know he’s working on his family, we know that for sure. Of course our hearts go out to the brave women who have told their stories,” Guthrie says. “What we are experiencing and processing now is how to honor and remain a true friend to someone even in spite of learning things that are deeply disturbing. And we are trying to navigate that path with integrity.”

[From People]

Eh, it’s fine. I think this was probably the best possible outcome from this entire sh-tshow. I would have been angry if NBC News couldn’t comprehend a morning-show line-up with just women as anchors. It reminds me of a series of tweets I saw a few months ago, when several congressmen had been outed as predators, and some dude basically tweeted “wow we’re just going to have elect asexual robots to Congress now” and someone responded, “ugh, you know you can just ELECT WOMEN right?” NBC News had to figure that out for themselves – why hire a dude to replace Matt Lauer when they could just have wall-to-wall women as anchors?

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Cover courtesy of People Magazine, additional photo courtesy of Getty.

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28 Responses to “Hoda Kotb will replace Matt Lauer as the full-time co-anchor of the ‘Today Show’”

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  1. Pedro45 says:

    Thank the gods that it’s not Megyn Kelly. I still won’t watch (I hate those shows) but good for Hoda.

  2. Indiana Joanna says:

    Good to see she’s free of megalomaniac Kathy Lee.

  3. Neelyo says:

    I like Hoda, but hate NBC and refuse to support them, especially after Lauer. They only did the right thing because they had no choice. If there wasn’t a story about to break, Lauer would still be there.

  4. Jess says:

    So glad Hoda is getting the nod. She and Al Roker are the best parts of that show.

  5. babykitten says:

    But NBC is hardly breaking new ground. Weren’t Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts co-anchors on AMC for years? I think they even teased that the morning show had two moms instead of the traditional mom/dad. Diane was even present, along with Robin’s family and a few other staffers, when Robin had her bone marrow transplant. That was a friendship that could not be faked.

    Now I’ve never really watched Today, but I was sucked into Hoda’s adoption of her baby girl. Her joy was everything, and Kathie Lee was in on the secret and quite emotional herself.

    And this is neither hear nor there, but I was present in NYC when the show did their special of the firefighter, post 9/11, who was marrying his nurse (Christmas present for my mother). Diane Sawyer came out to stand next to me and she was the most stunning human being I’ve ever seen in person. In fact, she was so youthful I thought she was Lara Spencer for a moment. She was very personable, and did not have security all around her. BUT, this was the summer of 9/11, so I’m sure much has changed,

    I wonder if Jenna Bush was ever bothered by Lauer. It would take a lot of nerve to go after the daughter of a POTUS.

  6. Who ARE These People? says:

    I wish they weren’t made to sound so heartbroken about Matt Lauer. He was an abusive pig. It’s hard to think he could have been a genuine friend to any woman, even if they weren’t a personal target for his abuse.

    • BJ says:

      They were and probably still are friends.If you follow Hoda on SM you would know Matt would regularly come to her apt to visit.He and KLG were the only people Hoda told about her baby before announcement on the show.So she obviously trusted him.

    • Sherry says:

      I believe he had different relationships with different people. Probably, for them, he was a good friend and colleague, but to others, he was their worst nightmare.

      I think they all knew he was cheating on his wife, but like the Weinstein stuff, I think many of his friends/colleagues assumed the relationships were consensual as opposed to the harassment/assault/rape that occurred.

  7. lucy2 says:

    Good! I rarely watch the show, but I like her, and it makes sense to go with someone already capable and liked by the audience. The fact that a woman got Matt’s old job? Even better.

  8. angiw0717 says:

    great duo! i’m happy for both anchors! 2 things i’m going to unload: 1) klg needs to STOP coddling matt lauer – just think klg if ur 22yr old daughter walked into his office and he hit that button under his desk, u would be signing a very different tune. so please, klg just STOP; 2) i adore jenna bush she has an ease on tv and seems pretty normal – this girl should get her own slot among the 99 hrs of today show each morning

  9. osito says:

    I don’t think my last comment stuck, so I’ll try again: Hoda is a tremendous talent. I’ve loved her since I was a kid in New Orleans. NBC is still a garbage fire, and journalism in-and-of itself needs an overhaul, but I can celebrate Hoda.

  10. Suzanne says:

    Another valid reason for me never to watch that train wreck. Honda and Kathy Gifford annoy the hell out of me…but I’m betting this combo will be equally as bad. No thanks…I’ll stick with FOX.

  11. Layla Love says:

    I like Hoda, but I’m done with morning TV and cable news; as Jack said, “sell crazy someplace else.”