Great Scott! Veteran broadcaster Willard Scott is retiring after 65 years with NBC, the Today show announced on Friday, Dec. 11.
Longtime anchor Matt Lauer revealed the news alongside his costars, marveling at Scott’s impressive tenure. “After 65 years at NBC, 35 of them on this show, our beloved friend Willard Scott is retiring,” Lauer told viewers.
The former weatherman, 81 — whose cherished Smucker’s birthday segments are a staple of the morning show — will make his last appearance on the program on Tuesday, Dec. 15. NBC is planning a special celebration in his honor for that morning, but early tributes have already started rolling in.
On Friday, the Today show anchors highlighted one of their favorite stories about Scott: the time he got a kiss from then–First Lady Barbara Bush on Inauguration Day back in 1989.
“I think people are so drawn to Willard, they really just want to be a part of his orbit,” former Today anchor Katie Couric shared. “And that includes First Ladies.”
Bush herself reminisced about the moment, saying, “[George] said, ‘I didn’t know you knew Willard Scott.’ I said, ‘I don’t know Willard Scott. I just love that face.'”
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