Hoda Kotb is over the moon!
In a move seen by many as ordained, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced in a Tuesday morning memo that Hoda Kotb’s makeshift assignment as co-anchor of The Today Show alongside Savannah Guthrie, is now confirmed permanent.
Kotb had been filling in for Matt Lauer, and doing a good job at that, since he got the boot in November, amid allegations of sexual impropriety.
— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) January 2, 2018
“Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running,” read the NBC chairman’s memo, circulated among the NBC staff just before showtime. “They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, the hallmark of ‘Today’,” the memo said.
He also called her the “center” of the show’s family and said, “she’s been a rock for our organization in tough times, and we are grateful.”
“It’s 2018 and we are kicking off the year right because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of Today. Let’s give her a round of applause,” said Savannah Guthrie, making her co-host’s promotion public at the start of yesterday’s edition of the show.
And, as the studio staff and a few spectators looking in through the glass from outside clapped, Guthrie added, clapping herself, “This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made, and I am so thrilled.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 2, 2018
“I’m pinching myself,” gushed an apparently surprised Kotb. “I think that we should send some medics to Alexandria, Virginia, where my mom has likely fainted after hearing the opening of that show,” she joked.
“It’s so exciting, Hoda, you are a partner and a friend and a sister and I am so happy to be doing this,” Guthrie gushed back.
“Well, there’s no one I’d rather be sitting next to in 2018,” Kotb said, holding her co-host’s hand and raising it for all to see.
The announcement attracted a slew of tweeted congratulations from her NBC colleagues and others.
— Al Roker (@alroker) January 2, 2018
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 2, 2018
— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) January 2, 2018
savannah and hoda – historic and so deserved
one more step in what i believe will the hallmark of the 21 century
women hv full parity
— Tom Brokaw (@tombrokaw) January 2, 2018
Congratulations @hodakotb! Looking forward to you lighting up my morning in a brand new way. ❤️
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) January 2, 2018
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) January 2, 2018
In light of the recent ouster of Lauer amid allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace, the network’s decision, though a shift from the conventional male-female pairing, appears to be a prudent one indeed, as CNN’s Ben Stellar has rightly observed.
The axe fell swiftly and suddenly on the 59-year-old NBC anchor of twenty years, at a time when sexual misconduct allegations against known personalities were flying thick and fast.
The news of his firing was announced by Savannah Guthrie and his replacement Hoda Kotb on the Nov. 29 show, shocking viewers across the nation.
Even the announcers had not been aware of the decision, having received Chairman Lack’s memo minutes before the show went on air.
“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment,” Lack wrote in the memo.
Justifying the termination of services, the memo had gone on to note that NBC had “reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
“Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender.”
CBS anchor Charlie Rose had got the boot for similar offenses just over a week before Lauer’s and so had Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, in April last year.
Before joining NBC in 1998, Kotb had been working as an anchor and reporter for WWL-TV in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In her nineteen years with NBC, Kotb has served in different capacities, including that of co-host with Kathie Lee Gifford on the fourth hour of “The Today Show” since 2008 and since 1998 as a correspondent of “Dateline NBC.”