April 12, 2012 6:08am PT by Erin Carlson
NBC's Hoda Kotb Ogles Cover THR Star Matt Lauer (Video)
Like many Today show devotees, Hoda Kotb has a crush on Matt Lauer.
But unlike many Lauer lovers, she also happens to work on his team at the NBC morning show, co-hosting the fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford.The Today co-anchor graces the cover of "The New York Issue" celebrating the 35 Most Powerful People in Media. (Also among them: Big Apple-based news powerhouses as Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Anderson Cooper.)
In an interview Wednesday night at the party in honor of THR's media-powerful, held at the midtown Manhattan Four Seasons Restaurant, Kotb could not resist resist ogling a blown-up cover of The Hollywood Reporter, with Lauer posing in a pinstriped suit on a cobblestone street alongside the headline: "The New Most Powerful Face In News."
"First of all, how hot is Matt Lauer?" she said. "I mean, let's just begin with that. That's just terrific. ... It doesn't surprise me one bit. I don't know that there's a better interviewer in the country right now on television."
Lauer just signed a reported $25 million-per-year contract to remain with Today, the No. 1-rated morning show, hammering out a deal in a span of 36 hours.
"Matt always sets the right tone," said Kotb. "He's one of those guys that when he interviews somebody, the tone is three-fourths of it, and he always nails it just right. You're kind of a student of his. ... The guy does it like breathing. I mean, for Kathie Lee and I, we drink -- and Matt does great interviews."