Scandal-plagued TV host Matt Lauer reached out to Hoda Kotb to congratulate her after she was named his full-time replacement on the "Today" show.
"We are kicking off the year right, because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of 'Today, '" Ms. Guthrie said, sitting next to Ms. Kotb. While joining Guthrie on Monday morning, Kotb revealed her enthusiasm.
This has to be the most popular decision NBC News have ever made and I'm so thrilled.
"I'm pinching myself", she added.
"I think they looked at it and said, 'Why would you change this?"
Kotb had been filling in for Matt Lauer ever since he was sacked late November following allegations of sexual misconduct. He's one of many prominent men - including two top editors at NPR - to lose their jobs in a long string of harassment-related allegations and disclosures, many related to patterns of conduct that dated back decades.
"Lauer allegedly gave a female colleague a sex toy with an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her". Following his firing, other accusations, including summoning a female employee to his office, dropping his trousers and reprimanding her for not engaging in a sexual act, were brought forward against him in a Variety article. She joked that someone should check on her mother who had likely fainted after hearing the news that she is now co-anchor.
Kotb had stepped in as guest host on the show in Lauer's absence.
Kotb is well known to "Today" viewers.
Ben Bogardus, a journalism professor at Connecticut's Quinnipiac College, said Kotb's selection was a good one "because it reinforces the sense of a family coming together after a shared trauma". While with NBC News, she has won Emmy Awards, a Gracie Award and an Edward R. Murrow award.
Lauer's eventual replacement had always been the subject of internal angst but with a sudden decision forced upon the network, Kotb's performance made it easier.