A little over a month after Matt Lauer was fired from NBC over allegations of "inappropriate sexual behavior," NBC announced who would take his place on The Today Show: Hoda Kotb. Kotb joined Savannah Guthrie for her debut as co-anchor of the 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. slot — NBC also announced that Kotb would continue to host the 10:00 a.m. slot with Kathy Lee Gifford.
"This has to be the most popular decision NBC news has ever made," Guthrie said on air just after making the announcement.
"I'm pinching myself," said Kotb. "I think that we should send some medics to Alexandria, Virginia, where my mom has likely fainted after hearing the opening to the show."
For the past month, Kotb has been an interim co-anchor for the 7:00 a.m. slot, ostensibly while NBC came to a decision as to who should replace Lauer. Lauer was dismissed in late November pending an investigation into sexual misconduct in the workplace. Shortly after his dismissal, the New York Times reported that NBC received two more complaints about Lauer's behavior in the workplace. Variety then published the results of a two-month investigation into complaints against Lauer — the piece cited a number of anonymous sources at NBC, all of whom claimed that the anchor exerted his power unfairly against the women who worked with him.
Kotb took over almost immediately following his departure. In late December, Deadline reported that Today's ratings had risen by 14%, perhaps because the early hours of the show were now almost exclusively hosted by women.
"Frankly, I'm not surprised at all that the Today Show ratings have improved, because I always thought [Lauer] was the weakest host," Liesel Burks, a 26-year-old lawyer, told Refinery29 regarding the spike in ratings in late December. "Today Show's greatest strength has been the high-caliber female journalists that the show has promoted over the years, and I wish they had been able to shine more."
Watch the full announcement on The Today Show, below.
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