Another hosting switch-up took place on Today on Monday, August 7, after a summer full of significant changes on the talk show. Al Roker and Hoda Kotb were both missing from the program and replaced amid big news in their personal lives.
Over the weekend, Hoda, 58, voiced her support on Instagram for Simone Biles, who made her comeback to competitive gymnastics at the Core Hydration Classic.
“Hoda’s got the morning off — she’s probably at Simone’s house right now just being like ‘Go Simone!'” Savannah Guthrie joked of her cohost’s absence from TV.
Craig Melvin filled in for Hoda during her usual segments. Further into the episode, Savannah revealed that Hoda has some big plans for the week ahead of turning 59 on Wednesday, August 9.
“We’ve got Hoda off this week — it’s her birthday this week by the way,” Savannah, 51, explained.
Hoda’s absence came just days after she announced that her new children’s book, Hope Is A Rainbow, will be out in March 2024. The project was inspired by the resilience of her youngest daughter, Hope.
“My daughter Hope is so inspiring to me,” Hoda shared of her new book. “She’s a little child, but with a real kind of old spirit, an old soul. There’s something about her in how she sees magic in everything.”
Earlier this year, Hoda missed several episodes of Today when Hope, 4, landed in the ICU. After Hope’s week-long hospitalization, Hoda returned to the daytime program on March 6 and gave an update on her child’s health.
“She is back home,” the longtime newscaster confirmed at the time. “I was waiting for that day to come. And we are watching her closely. I’m just so happy.”
The hosts did not immediately provide reasoning behind Al’s abrupt Today absence. Recent posts on his Instagram page point toward him being out of town. The day before his disappearance from Today, Al, 68, presented the film he executive produced, Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land, at Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center in Massachusetts.
The movie premiere wasn’t the only thing Al has celebrated lately. He recently gushed over his granddaughter, Sky, turning 1 month old. Sky was born to Al’s daughter Courtney Roker and her husband, Wesley Laga, on July 3.
“My little Sky [is] not so happy about the photo shoot Mom and Dad set up,” Al shared with his followers alongside a picture of his grandchild crying.
Dylan Dreyer took over weather forecasting duties on the morning talk show in Al’s place. Sheinelle Jones was also missing from Monday’s Today episode. NBC’s Jacob Soboroff served as a fill-in host later on in the broadcast to account for all of the absences.