Matt Lauer has officially been replaced as a Today show co-anchor by a very familiar face.
Hoda Kotb will take Lauer's former job alongside Savannah Guthrie in the wake of his firing. This change will mark the first time in Today show history that two women will be the mainstay co-hosts. Kotb has been filling in as Guthrie's co-anchor since Lauer was fired on Nov. 29 for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior, and clearly NBC liked their dynamic.
“When you click with someone, man, woman, it doesn’t matter. If it works, it works,” Kotb said about her synergy with Guthrie to People. “We’re sort of like sisters, and everybody wants a sister.”
That bond only strengthened when Lauer was terminated.
“That morning was so hard, but Hoda and I were in it together. We are family, and families do go through hard times, and when that happens in good families, you just get closer," Guthrie said. “It was such a shock to wake up one day and not have Matt, but it was the most natural and comforting thing in the world to have Hoda right there. No one wanted that to stop.”
While the new role is certainly exciting for Kotb, it won't mean that she has to give up her famed 10 o'clock hosting slot with Kathie Lee Gifford. She will reportedly do both, and Gifford herself had a lot to say about it...and what she thinks Lauer would think of the news.
“I feel happy for her because she is having the greatest year of her life, and if she’s happy, I’m happy for her,” Gifford told People. “What’s happening to her now is something she would have given anything for earlier on in her career. ... Nobody is as good as what they do as Hoda. Nobody spreads more joy. But she has learned that the way you make your living is different from what your life is all about.
Gifford continued: "She has a life to go home to that means more to her than anything she could have dreamed of. I’m not minimizing how huge this is, but I’m explaining this comes to her at the perfect time. ... She knows what’s truly important.”
“The whole thing with Matt is not something we want to get into. We love this man and we are heartbroken about him being gone. Our sense of joy is tempered by our sense of loss,” Gifford added. “The best way to say it is that it’s a bit bittersweet. Nobody wants to profit off of someone’s pain. But this is reality. It’s a business, and someone has to move on. Matt would be the first to congratulate her and wish her well.”