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Savannah Guthrie & Hoda Kotb: How is ‘Today’ Doing Without Matt Lauer?

In the wake of a sex scandal that included some truly heinous allegations, Matt Lauer has lost his wife. He’s lost his job. He’s lost any respect or trust that the American public once placed in him.

And NBC’s Today, which he hosted for decades, lost him as its host.

Now hosted by Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, how are the ratings doing? You might be shocked.

Matt Lauer is said to be broken and ashamed following the horrible accusations from his time at NBC.

Sweet, sweet schadenfreude aside, a lot of people wonder if NBC — while doing the right thing — effectively shot itself in the foot by firing Matt Lauer.

Before the accusations of sexual harassment and rape came out, Matt Lauer enjoyed tremendous popularity.

Some considered him to be akin to “America’s dad,” finding his occasional slip-ups during interviews to be adorable rather than red flags.

With Lauer gone, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb are cohosts of Today.

While they’re definitely better choices than an alleged sexual predator and creep, how are the ratings going? Did viewers flee from the show when the scandal broke?

As it turns out, and you may be surprised by this, Today‘s ratings aren’t just good — they’re outstanding.

According to Nielsen results, Today ranks #1 among adults 25-54 and adults 18-49. Those are a couple of very coveted demographics.

Looking back to the same week last year, Today has improved its lead over Good Morning America by 16%.

This makes this Today‘s best streak in 5 years, in terms of raw numbers of viewers and in terms of key demographics.

Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie should be very proud of themselves.

Just after Thanksgiving in 2017, Matt Lauer was fired for alleged sexual misconduct.

At the time, NBC admitted that they had reason to believe that the incident that had been reported to them was part of a larger pattern.

And then the reports, which reporters had been quietly researching for weeks, began to surface.

Accusations included stories of dropping his pants or “gifting” sex toys to colleagues without invitation or consent.

One pants-dropping incident was allegedly followed by Matt Lauer lecturing the woman for not performing a sex act.

One sex toy-gifting incident allegedly included a creepy, detailed note describing the ways in which he wanted to use that toy on, again, a woman he worked with, who was literally just coming into work to do her dang job.

Matt Lauer was also accused of rape. According to the accusation, he used his creepy desk-based-door-locking-button to trap a woman in his office with him before bending her over and beginning the sexual assault.

He allegedly didn’t relent and unlock his door until she passed out.

Horrific.

As we alluded to earlier, Matt Lauer’s wife Annette Roque is officially divorcing him.

Since news of the scandal broke — and since she fled the country with her two younger sons — people have been waiting to see if she would divorce Matt Lauer and take everything.

For a while, though, it seemed that Matt and Annette were trying to play nice for the sake of their children. Given the weight of the accusations against Matt Lauer — accusations of so much more than just cheating — that attempt was doomed from the get-go.

We imagine that their divorce process will be complicated and may grow contentious — these things always do. Especially when it comes down to money, division of property, and custody decisions.

(In other words, everything that matters in a divorce)

The ratings news is fantastic.

It’s especially good because the Winter Olympics are just about to begin.

For years, people have associated the Olympics with Lauer because he covered the event every time.

From recent accusations, the world has now heard how he used these NBC trips as a sort of hunting ground to invite or lure young, ambitious NBC employees to his hotel room.

It will be hard for some people to not notice Matt Lauer’s absence. That can lead to some awkward discussions.

So it’s wonderful to hear that Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie are doing Lauer’s Today job better than he has in years.

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Hoda Kotb: Yup, Matt Lauter Texted Me About Today!

The Today Show introduced a new face to viewers this morning.

Actually, that’s not true:

The Today Show introduced an old face to viewers this morning… in a new position.

Savanna Guthrie opened the first fresh show of 2018 by confirming what some in the industry have suspected for the past couple weeks:

Hoda Kotb is no longer a temporary co-anchor on Today; she’s the permanent replacement for Matt Lauer, who was fired in late November due to numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

Said Guthrie in making this announcement:

“Welcome to Today and we are kicking off the year right because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of Today, so let’s give her a round of applause…

“This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made and I am so thrilled.”

It certainly is true that Kotb is a beloved member of this network’s large family.

Consider what Kathie Lee Gifford told People Magazine of her long-time friend and colleague:

“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.

“What’s happening to her now is something she would have given anything for earlier on in her career…

“Everybody universally adores her.  She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She’s more loving and kind, so when these wonderful things started happening for this wonderful woman, we were thrilled for her.”

kathie lee praise

While it’s not surprising that Gifford would comment on Kotb’s promotion, the new full-time co-host revealed to Entertainment Tonight that someone unexpected contacted her with congratulations as well:

Lauer himself!

“I did hear from [Matt], yeah,” Kotb told ET, adding:

“He texted me and he said congratulations and some really nice words, and it meant the world when I saw the text pop up… it meant the world to see that.”

Lauer has been accused of some horrible actions, but Kotb admits she keeps in touch with the disgraced reporter.

“Matt is our good friend and continues to be, and I think for both of us, we’ve just been trying to navigate this time and honor our love and friendship with Matt, but also understand and try to learn more about these circumstances,” she explains.

“So, it’s complicated when you are surprised by revelations, but you still care deeply for somebody who’s a friend.

“I think for all of us, we’ve just been trying to navigate through that, with straightforwardness and honesty and integrity.”

Also speaking to Entertainment Tonight on the revamped setup, along with the man who prompted this change, Guthrie noted:

“This has been a really hard time for this show that we love and the people who put the show together – we care so much – and having Hoda right with me every second of the way has meant everything.

“And we kind of held onto each other, and then discovered along the way that there’s a real partnership here, and so how wonderful that now it’s permanent, we get to just do it every day.”

Hoda has been with NBC since 1998.

She had been anchoring her own hour of Today with Gifford for several years, but will now get a chance to greet millions of people first thing every single morning.

We’re very happy for her.

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Hoda Kotb Named Permanent Today Show Co-Host

Matt has been out for about a month now.

And Hoda Kotb is officially in.

Following multiple weeks as the fill-in for Lauer (who was fired, of course, due to some serious allegations of sexual misconduct), Kotb was named his full-time replacement on Tuesday morning.

She will greet viewers everyday alongside Savannah Guthrie.

“Welcome to Today and we are kicking off the year right because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of Today, so let’s give her a round of applause,” Guthrie opened the show today, adding:

“This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made and I am so thrilled.”

The decision marks the first time two women will co-host the long-running program each day.

“I am pinching myself,” Kotb said. “I think we should send some medics to Alexandria, Virginia, where my mom has likely fainted after hearing the open of that show.”

Hoda, of course, has been co-anchoring her own hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford for years.

She sat in with Guthrie on the morning they told the world that Lauer had been fired, saying on air at the time:

“It’s hard to reconcile with what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day…

“We were both woken up with the news, kind of pre-dawn, and we’re trying to process it and trying to make sense of it – and it’ll take some time for that.”

In a statement to staff this week, meanwhile, NBC News chair Andy Lack said the following:

“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.

“They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of Today.”

You’d have to imagine there’s an appeal for executives in having two women occupy these seats as well, considering the heinous details that have been reported regarding how Lauer treated the opposite sex during his time at NBC.

“You are a partner and a friend and a sister and I am so happy to be doing this,” Guthrie told Hoda this morning.

It was actually a pretty moving exchange between the colleagues.

Kotb has been with NBC News since 1998 when she joined Dateline; she has filled in on the first two hours of Today quite frequently over the years, so this is familiar terrain for her.

As you can see below, the Internet is pretty excited over the news:

hoda reaction

Do you share their enthusiasm?

Are you psyched to tune in each morning for Guthrie and Kotb?

Or are you more of a Good Morning America kind of person anyway?

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