Female Morning Newsers Recall Initial Reaction to Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose Reports

By A.J. Katz 

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2017 was a transformative year for TV news. But much of what transpired wasn’t “transformative” in a good sense. Longtime television journalists Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose were fired from their respective lucrative morning show roles (and networks) late last year after reports of sexual harassment came to the surface.

CBS This Morning’s Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, Today show’s Savannah Guthrie, and Hoda Kotb were forced to report on the infidelities of their longtime male co-anchors live on their respective programs. Each would take on more important roles on their respective newscasts going forward.

The CBS and NBC morning show anchor duos, along with ABC Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for separate interviews, where the discussion focused about on harassment, both in TV news and in a broader context, the #MeToo movement and its future. These interviews were part of the magazine’s annual 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media issue.

On Charlie Rose:

 THR: Has either of you talked to Charlie?

KING: I have. He tells me that he’s fine. (Laughs.) Because I said, “I’m worried about you.” He keeps assuring me there’s no reason to be worried about him, but I am worried about him, I am. And I do care about him. He was a big part of my life for six years. So I can’t just turn that off. But I also can’t dismiss the stories that I’m hearing, and I do take them very seriously.

THR: Did you confront him with these stories?

KING: Oh, I’ve definitely talked to him about it.

THR: Is it sinking in that this was wrong?

KING: Well, I’m going to let him speak for himself about that, but I’ve definitely had a very serious conversation about it, about how I feel about it. I can’t dismiss what I’m hearing. I can’t act like I didn’t hear that.

O’DONNELL: I’ll just say one thing on that. I think we now know that his behavior was abusive and predatory. And there is absolutely zero tolerance when it comes to that, end of story.

On Matt Lauer:

THR: Savannah, Hoda, how hard was the morning of Nov. 29, when Matt’s firing was announced?

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: It was hard.

HODA KOTB: It was excruciating.

GUTHRIE: We were literally both woken up out of our beds with this information. We had no idea. We had to go on the air and say something with very little information. In fact, the information we said was [all] the information we knew, it wasn’t like we were holding back.

KOTB: Just minutes before we’re going on the air we went to Savannah’s dressing room and had a moment of prayer. It was hard. It was heavy.

GUTHRIE: A lot of tears.

Robin Roberts speaks about how her fellow morning show anchors handled the ordeal:

ROBIN ROBERTS: They handled it with such grace and professionalism and compassion for the women who accused these men. I was very proud of both shows at how they handled it and how they reached out to their colleagues who had brought about this change. Somebody that they had worked with — and they say they didn’t see that side of that person — but to know that they did what they allegedly did …

The annual party celebrating the honorees takes place tonight. TVNewser will be in attendance.

Here are the TV news talent and executives who made the 2018 list:

Execs:

ABC News president James Goldston
CBS News president David Rhodes
CBS 60 Minutes ep, Jeff Fager
CBS Sunday Morning ep Rand Morrison
CNN president Jeff Zucker
Fox News co-president and CEO, Fox Television Stations Jack Abernethy
Fox News president of programming, Suzanne Scott
Fox News president of news, Jay Wallace
NBC News chairman Andy Lack
NBC News president Noah Oppenheim
MSNBC president Phil Griffin

Talent:

ABC World News Tonight Anchor/managing editor David Muir
ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos
ABC Good Morning America anchors Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan
CBS This Morning anchors Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell and John Dickerson
CBS Sunday Morning host Jane Pauley
CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor
CNN AC360 host and CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper
CNN Tonight host Don Lemon
Fox News Fox & Friends co-hosts, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade
Fox News Hannity host Sean Hannity
NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt
NBC Today show anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Megyn Kelly Today anchor Megyn Kelly
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow
MSNBC Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski

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