On the heels of Matt Lauer's abrupt firing from the Today show following sexual harassment allegations, Hoda Kotb has officially been named the morning program's co-anchor alongside pal Savannah Guthrie.
"This has to be the most popular decision that NBC News has ever made and I am so thrilled," said Savannah, 46, while making the exciting announcement this morning on Monday, Jan. 2. "You are a partner and a friend and I’m so happy to be doing this together.” Hoda, 53, sweetly replied, "I am pinching myself."
The happy news comes just more than one month after Matt, 60, was terminated from Today on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Following his abrupt firing after 20 years on the show, NBC reportedly had a temporary plan to fill his co-anchor seat each morning. "There will be a rotation for now," a source previously explained. "But there’s a lot that has to get worked out." The insider added, "When Matt was on vacation or on assignment, there was a huge bench of people that filled in for him. Whether it’s Hoda or Carson [Daly] or Willie Geist or Craig Melvin, the weekend anchor."
Closer Weekly exclusively reported in mid-December that Hoda was a frontrunner for the gig. "She's just a marvel how she pulls it all off and keeps her stamina," a Today insider recently told us. "There's no one on the Today team more respected than Hoda. She's as comfortable interviewing a world leader as a fashion designer. Her whole career has been building toward this moment. It would certainly be the pinnacle of her career, and Hoda knows it."
Since Matt's firing, Hoda has acted as a rock for her colleagues as they deal with the fallout from their former co-star's sex scandal. "She has always been great at forging esprit de corps. I don't know what they would be doing in this time of crisis without Hoda around to pull everyone together," an insider told Closer. Congratulations on your new co-anchor job, Hoda!