A shocking exit is shaking up the cast of Saturday Today. Kristen Welker is officially leaving the program to focus on another gig. A new replacement cohost has been announced for the weekend edition of the talk show amid her departure.

On Wednesday, August 9, NBC announced that Laura Jarrett will be permanently taking over for Kristen on Saturday Today. The senior legal correspondent for NBC News will be joining veteran Peter Alexander at the news desk on September 9. 

“When I got the news, I was stunned! It is such a huge honor, and I am so excited about the opportunity,” she gushed. “And of course, I’m excited for how much fun Peter and I are going to have together.”

Laura, 39, first joined NBC back in January after working at CNN for six years. 

“In her first months at NBC News, Laura has quickly made her mark with tireless reporting, sharp legal insight and powerful storytelling,” Libby Leist, executive VP of Today and Lifestyle, said in a statement. “Not only is she a terrific journalist, she’s also a wonderful colleague. We can’t wait to officially welcome her to Saturday Today.”

In addition to Laura being promoted after Kristen’s departure, the network also announced that news correspondent Joe Fryer will now serve as a featured anchor on Saturday Today. On top of that, Saturday Today will be relocating from its set in Washington, D.C. and moving back to the iconic Today studio in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza.

Laura Jarrett wears black pantsuit and flats
Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

Kristen, 47, spoke out on passing the torch to her colleague as she prepares for the next chapter of her career — moderating Meet the Press.

“Anchoring the show with my best friend was the highlight of every week. I am so thrilled that my friend Laura will now join Peter as the next coanchor of Saturday Today,” the longtime broadcaster said. “We have all seen Laura’s brilliant legal analysis, and now we can’t wait to watch her shine on Saturdays.”

It was previously announced in June that Kristen would succeed Chuck Todd as the host of Meet the Press after his departure from the show. At the time, it was unclear if she planned to scale back her duties on the weekend version of Today

Meet the Press is one of the most important political broadcasts in history,” Kristen said of her new role. “I just feel so grateful and humbled to all of those who built this amazing legacy. I’m thinking about Martha Rountree, Tim Russert and of course, my mentor, Chuck Todd, who taught me just about everything I know about politics.”