The last couple of months have been one of the lowest times in the history of NBC’s venerable morning institution Today, morale-wise. Longtime anchor Matt Lauer was summarily and publicly dismissed after multiple women reported sexual harassment and sexual assault, as well as other acts that weren’t necessarily criminal but incredibly creepy and awful nonetheless. Lauer is just one of a number of powerful men in media taken down by their inability to keep their penis in their pants and/or the capacity to treat their female coworkers with respect. In the morning TV game alone, the great sexual misconduct reckoning of 2017 also claimed the career of CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose.
But as Lauer ducked out of public view and remained there, NBC brass had to contend with the pressing business decision of replacing the guy. What person was popular enough, likable enough, and had a clean enough history that would make them a good fit to take over for Today at its nadir? NBC reportedly considered just a handful of candidates, all of them from inside NBC News and Today, including Craig Melvin and Willie Geist. Both would’ve been good choices, but producers decided to go with the very excellent choice of Today 10 a.m. cohost Hoda Kotb. Gone are the days of the late-morning hinterlands, sipping wine with and pretending to think Kathie Lee Gifford is adorable, because Kotb is now the main coanchor, along with Savannah Guthrie, of the main Today show proper.
Guthrie announced Kotb’s promotion live on the air Tuesday morning. But Twitter truly erupted after Kotb and Guthrie posted a beaming mutual selfie, with famous friends, Today associates, and fans all offering their congratulations.