Matt Lauer's Replacement Has Been Named, & Yes, It's a Familiar Face
Fans of Today will already recognize the coanchor who has just been named to be Matt Lauer's permanent replacement — and they'll also be excited because this new coanchor will bring some freshness to the role.
Hoda Kotb, a correspondent for NBC news and some of the network's other programs for nearly 20 years, has been filling in since the day it was announced Lauer was fired. On Tuesday morning, Today anchor Savannah Guthrie made the announcement that Kotb is staying in the coanchor chair with her. While there had been rumors of a possible outside hire coming in to replace Lauer, the choice of Kotb is not only intriguing but also exciting because it means two women will be leading the way at the Today news desk.
"It’s 2018, and we are kicking off the year right because Hoda is officially the coanchor of Today," Guthrie announced on the show on Tuesday, Jan. 2. "This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made, and I’m so thrilled... You are a partner and a friend and a sister, and I am so happy to be doing this."
That means Kotb will coanchor the first two hours of the show alongside Guthrie, but she's also going to keep her gig hosting Today's fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford.
"I'm pinching myself," Kotb said when the announcement was made.
Kotb joined NBC News in 1998 as a correspondent for Dateline. She's been with the network ever since, and on the morning of Nov. 28, she was by Guthrie's side as they revealed together, live on Today, that Lauer had been fired following allegations of sexual harassment. Kotb just stayed in Lauer's spot after that, a transition NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said was seamless.
"Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running," Lack wrote in an email to staff Tuesday morning. "They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of Today. Hoda is, in a word, remarkable. She 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."
Kotb has already made her mark during her time as interim coanchor, and we can't wait to see what she does with the role moving forward.