Just two days into 2018, one of the year’s biggest TV news questions—who will replace the disgraced Matt Lauer as Today co-anchor?—has already been answered.
Hoda Kotb, who had filled in alongside Savannah Guthrie since Lauer was shockingly fired a month ago after sexual harassment allegations, was named Today’s permanent co-anchor this morning by NBC News chairman Andy Lack.
Guthrie and Kotb made their official debut this morning as Today co-anchors from 7-9 a.m., alongside weather anchor Al Roker and co-host Carson Daly. Kotb will also continue co-hosting the 10 a.m. hour with Kathie Lee Gifford, as she has done since 2008.
The news closes the door on a month of tumult that began on Nov. 29, when NBC announced it had fired Lauer, who had been co-anchor of Today since January 1997, for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” Later that day, a Variety story alleged that Lauer had sexually harassed multiple Today staffers over several years.
Kotb anchored Today alongside Guthrie that morning, and has been by her side ever since.
Today has won the morning shows ratings each week since Lauer was fired, finishing No. 1 in total viewers, ahead of Good Morning America, in addition to its usual dominance in the adults 25-54 demographic that is key for morning news.
By giving the job to Kotb, NBC hopes to continue that ratings momentum, and stabilize its morning show roster ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics, which will also give the show a ratings boost.
“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. They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of Today,” Lack said this morning in a memo to Today staff. “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.”
This will be the second time a morning show has an all-female anchor team. Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts anchored Good Morning America together from 2006-2009.
Kotb joined NBC News in 1998 as a Dateline correspondent. During her time at NBC News, she has won Emmys, a Gracie award and an Edward R. Murrow award. Kotb, who also hosts her own SiriusXM show, will join Guthrie, who has co-anchored Today since 2012.
With Today quickly filling its vacant co-host position, there is no word yet on who CBS will tap to replace Charlie Rose—also fired after sexual harassment allegations—on CBS This Morning.