It will be the first all-female team headlining “Today” in the show’s 65-year history. Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts blazed that path for ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the 2000s, but morning shows have traditionally paired a man and a woman as host. With an audience dominated by women in an era where news of badly behaving men is frequent, the Guthrie-Kotb pairing may be particularly timely.
“Today” won’t be an all-female zone in its first half, however, with longtime weather forecaster Al Roker and correspondent Carson Daly as regulars. Megyn Kelly hosts the show’s third hour.
“This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made and I am so thrilled,” Guthrie said on Tuesday, announcing the appointment on the air.
“I am pinching myself,” said a beaming Kotb, sitting beside her. “I think we should send some medics to Alexandria, Virginia, where my mom has likely fainted.”
Lauer’s eventual replacement had long been the subject of internal angst but with a sudden decision forced upon the network, Kotb’s performance made it easier. She’s subbed for Lauer since the day he was fired and “Today” has won four straight weeks in the ratings, after having spent much of the past few years in second behind ABC.
“Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running,” NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said in a memo to staff on Tuesday. “They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of ‘Today’.”
Lack said Kotb “has the rare ability to share authentic and heartfelt moments in even the most difficult news circumstances. It’s a tribute to her wide range and her innate curiosity.”