This is NOT the “Today” show’s week.
US Weekly went waaaaay out on a limb this morning with a piece claiming that two “Today” show hosts were fired.
Co-hosts Willie Geist and Natalie Morales “were recently told they were fired,” an NBC source reveals exclusively in the new issue of Us Weekly. Morales, 42, is now in talks with ABC and Geist, 39, has lined up a gig at CBS, the insider tells Us.
None of that is true, say NBC and CBS and ABC.
When we asked whether Geist has “lined up a gig” at CBS News, spokesperson Sonya McNair told TVNewser, “No.” When we asked ABC if Morales is in talks with that network, we were told the network doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation. (Morales is under contract with NBC News for two more years, until November, 2016.)
As for NBC, network news president Deborah Turness is crystal clear: “the rumors are wrong — period:”
NBC’s TODAY has the best anchor team in morning television. The entire TODAY show anchor team — Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Carson Daly, Tamron Hall, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb — are incredibly talented, valued and have our support. In response to the false rumors that have been circulated about our anchor team, NBC wants to be absolutely clear: The rumors are wrong — period. This is the team we are committed to. And this is the team that our viewers turn to in the morning.
The US Weekly story is a byproduct of the firing of “Today” show SVP Jamie Horowitz earlier this week. CNNMoney’s Brian Stelter reports Turness gave Horowitz “a warning of sorts” about his interactions with staffers following a listening tour he’d been conducting. “He’s a really smart guy, and he’s been great at reaching out to us, getting our input, and so far we’re really impressed,” Geist told TVNewser just two weeks ago.
Stelter reports, Horowitz was “blind-sided” by the firing Monday; a dismissal, insiders say, has galvanized the staff: from top anchors down to the production assistants. The challenge now is to ensure the flurry of blind sourced reporting doesn’t chip away at any kumbaya moments trying to take hold at the once long dominant, now much beleaguered morning show.