Work wives! Matt Lauer has nothing but love for his Today show coanchors, past and present.
The journalist also credited 60-year-old Couric, who sat by his side for 15 years on the morning news show, with landing him his current gig. “When I was a local NBC anchor, I did early morning teasers with Bryant Gumbel and Katie,” Lauer explained. “I usually found a way to have fun with Katie. Jeff Zucker [then Today executive producer] noticed our chemistry and he called me in to fill in for a vacationing Bryant.”
The mom of Elinor, 25, and Caroline, 21, (with late husband Jay Monahan), returned to Today last month to fill in when Guthrie, 45, went on maternity leave. She celebrated Lauer’s 20-year Today anniversary on January 6, and recalled his first day on the job in 1997. “It was extremely natural when Matt first stepped into the chair,” Couric, who left Today in 2006, said during a segment commemorating 20 years of Lauer. “He just crushed it right away.”
Soon, Lauer will share the morning with a new face: former Fox News nightly anchor Megyn Kelly, whose forthcoming NBC news program will replace the third or fourth hour of Today. “She’s multitalented and would fit right in,” Lauer continued to TV Insider. “She’s a remarkable broadcaster and journalist, a real force.”
Kelly joining NBC’s morning lineup bumped out 9 a.m. host Tamron Hall, who also served as an anchor on MSNBC and NBC News. The network announced February 1 that January 31 was the 46-year-old’s last day on both networks, information that, sources tell Us Weekly, Hall received just “minutes before going on air” on MSNBC. In wake of Hall’s departure, the National Association of Black Journalists accused NBC of whitewashing.
“The National Association of Black Journalists is saddened by Tamron Hall’s departure from NBC,” the organization wrote on its website the day of the announcement. “She broke ground as the first black female ‘Today Show’ cohost and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show’s third hour of programming. NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing.”
The network responded in a statement, saying, “NBC News has a long and proven history as an industry leader in newsroom diversity. We will continue to engage in the running dialogue we’ve had for many years with the National Association of Black Journalists and other advocacy groups to advance those goals.”