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Potential heirs apparent to Vieira are said to include Today’s Ann Curry and Natalie Morales, Washington correspondent Savannah Guthrie and CNBC’s Erin Burnett. (Matt Lauer, who has co-hosted Today since 1997, is locked in longer than Vieira, but his potential departure has NBC News eyeing its male anchor crop, including MSNBC’s Willie Geist and CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla.)
An NBC News spokesperson declined comment on possible anchor changes, except to say, “The Today show anchors are currently under contract and firmly in place.” Reps for Vieira declined comment.
Curry and Morales have the advantage of being familiar to NBC’s morning viewers. Curry, in particular, has paid her dues at Today, where she has been the show’s news anchor since 1997. Whether she’ll walk if the job doesn’t become hers is a concern that will inevitably be factored into the decision-making process.
Burnett has seen her profile steadily rise at the company. She hosts CNBC’s Squawk on the Street and Street Signs and appears on various NBC News programs to comment on financial stories. But while she sometimes turns up on Today, one source suggests NBC higher-ups are not convinced she’s a good fit for morning television.
Guthrie is said to have executives at the network most excited. The 39-year-old lawyer by training has proved a natural at traversing hard news and features — a requirement for a network morning show — when she has filled in for Vieira.
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Michael K. Williams