A Live Studio Audience Could Return to Fourth Hour of Today

By Mark Mwachiro 

In early 2020, the fourth hour of NBC’s Today, hosted by Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager, was set to have a live studio audience twice per week. But then COVID happened, and as a result, those plans were scuttled.

According to Variety’s Brian Steinberg, the live, in-studio audience plan could be revived if Kotb and Bush Hager get their way.

The duo hopes a live audience will become a regular feature of the show sometime in 2023 after the positive vibes they received when doing the 10 a.m. hour in front of a live audience during the week of November 14.


Kotb said that having an audience gave the show “energy and juice.”

The report adds that NBC is interested in adding that element to the fourth hour of the Today franchise, but doing so would require sponsorships as well as segments featuring promotional deals of those products.

Having promotional segments would require Kotb to walk a tightrope as she is one of the faces of the 7-9 a.m. ET edition of Today, which is heavy on hard news, and NBC News doesn’t want her necessarily pushing consumer products.

The live audience format would also be in the wheelhouse of Hoda & Jenna executive producer Talia Parkinson-Jones, who was brought in 2021 and previously worked as the launch executive producer of the Tamron Hall Show.

Parkinson-Jones says that having an audience is what they would like for the show. “We want to be with our audiences every day. We want to be with our viewers every day,” she added.

Today with Hoda and Jenna had its best single-day performance in A25-54 on Nov. 14 since January 20 and its biggest Monday total viewer audience since Jan. 31 this year. This excludes holidays and the Olympics.

With performances like those, it’s no wonder Kotb and Bush Hager are championing for more live audience shows.