It’s been nearly two months since Today show anchor Matt Lauer was fired from NBC News and his former colleague Savannah Guthrie has a healthy take on his exit. And why shouldn’t she? Ratings are up, and her friend Hoda Kotb was promoted to full-time coanchor on January 2, replacing the disgraced journalist.
“It was hard, and like everyone saw, we went through it,” Guthrie, 46, revealed during a Wednesday, January 17, appearance with Kotb on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “But something really lovely and positive has happened. And I think that’s where we’re focused.”
Indeed, Guthrie and Kotb, 53, are making history as the first female duo to ever helm Today. “Savannah and I started anchoring together, and it was just weird,” said Kotb. “It was like if you’ve ever met a friend and had a great moment where you say to yourself, ‘Wow, that was so much fun. It worked. ‘I think we had an instant thing.”
And Guthrie agreed. “Hoda said it was like a first date, and I was like, ‘And I’m easy and desperate,’ so no problem!” she joked. “It just clicked, and it felt so good. We’re so happy.”
Next month, the women will travel nearly 7,000 miles from New York City to South Korea for the Winter Olympics 2018 in PyeongChang. Kotb told Fallon she’s counting down the days: “The thing about the Olympics is there’s no other place on earth where you can sit there and watch a kid you’ve never heard of before and in that instant, you get to watch their life change.”
As previously reported, Lauer, 60, was fired in late November after a colleague accused him of sexual misconduct in the workplace. NBC News Chairman Andy Lack sent an email to employees just moments before Guthrie and Kotb broke the news on air.
Lauer apologized in a statement a day later. “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” he said in a statement to Us Weekly. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”
He continued: “Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”