Hoda Kotb Named ‘Today’ Co-Anchor, Replacing Matt Lauer

Posted January 2, 2018 8:38 a.m. EST

Hoda Kotb, a longtime NBC News correspondent, will permanently replace Matt Lauer as co-anchor of NBC’s flagship morning program, “Today,” the network said Tuesday.

Kotb (pronounced COT-bee) had replaced Lauer on an interim basis since he was fired in November over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with a subordinate. Lauer is among the most high-profile names to have been ousted in a national reckoning over sexual harassment in the workplace, along with Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.

The appointment is the first time that two women will be the program’s official main hosts; “Today” has an overwhelmingly female audience and is the network’s most profitable franchise. The decision signals a turning point of sorts for NBC: In addition to the Lauer scandal, the network also reviewed 2005 footage from an NBC-owned show in which Donald Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitalia but was beaten to publication by The Washington Post, and passed on an exposé of Weinstein by an MSNBC contributor.

Savannah Guthrie, the show’s other anchor, announced the news of Kotb’s appointment during Tuesday’s broadcast.

“We are kicking off the year right, because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of ‘Today,'” Guthrie said, sitting next to Kotb. “This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made, and I am so thrilled.”

Kotb, 53, responded: “I am pinching myself.”

For more than 20 years, millions of people tuned in to see Lauer in the morning, as well as on an array of major NBC programs, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Winter and Summer Olympics, and a prime-time forum in which Trump faced off with Hillary Clinton.

Now, they will be greeted by Guthrie, who has been a “Today” anchor since 2012, and Kotb, who joined NBC News in 1998 as a correspondent for “Dateline.” She took over as the co-host of the fourth hour of “Today” in 2008, and was rushed in as an emergency substitute host on the morning of Lauer’s firing.

In an interview with People magazine, Kotb said that NBC executives offered her the permanent position just before the holidays.