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Hoda Kotb has been named co-anchor of the early hours of the Today show, joining Savannah Guthrie, the NBC morning show unveiled Tuesday. Kotb will replace Matt Lauer in the seat.
Kotb has been filling in for Lauer since he was abruptly fired on Nov. 29 for “inappropriate sexual behavior.” With Guthrie and Kotb co-hosting, the morning show has consistently led the competition in total viewers, leading some to suggest that Kotb’s role be made permanent.
The announcement of her appointment as Lauer’s permanent replacement was made early Tuesday by NBC News chairman Andy Lack and announced on the air. “This must be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made,” Guthrie said.
“I’m pinching myself,” Kotb said. She also celebrated the news on Twitter using the hashtag #SavannahHodaTODAY. “I think that we should send some medics to Alexandria, Virginia, where my mother has likely fainted” after hearing the opening of the show, she said.
Guthrie and Kotb will form the first all-female anchoring duo of Today but won’t be the first all-female team on a national morning show. Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts co-anchored Good Morning America on ABC from 2006-2009. In addition to co-hosting the 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. hours, leading into Megyn Kelly’s hour, Kotb will continue co-hosting the 10 a.m. hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford, which she has been doing since 2008.
Lack, in a memo, said that Guthrie and Kotb have gelled as co-anchors in the last few weeks. “They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of TODAY,” he wrote.
Of Kotb, Lack said, “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.” He also praised Guthrie, saying that she has been “a rock for our organization in tough times.”
Kotb joined NBC News in 1998 as a correspondent for Dateline. She is also the host of The Hoda Show on SiriusXM. Kotb started her broadcast career in local news, anchoring and reporting for stations in New Orleans and Fort Myers.
NBC has not publicly discussed the process that led to Kotb’s selection. The network was expected to name an in-house replacement for Lauer, with Kotb and other members of the Today family, including Willie Geist, thought to be in contention for the role. In a recent interview, though, Geist said he had not discussed the position with the network.
Geist tweeted about the news on Tuesday. “I just downloaded the Twitter app on the top of a mountain in Montana to violate my week of no social media so I can say… Congratulations, @HodaKotb!” he wrote. “Everybody’s talking about the news here at 11,000 feet.”
Watch the announcement of Kotb’s elevation on Tuesday’s edition of Today below.
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