Following longtime “Today” show host’s departure from the network amid a wave of unsettling sexual misconduct allegations, NBC announced that Hoda Kotb would be promoted to become Lauer’s full-time replacement in the seat next to co-host Savannah Guthrie.
Kotb joined the show in a temporary role after Lauer was fired in November, when a female colleague filed a complaint that accused Lauer of sexually inappropriate behavior, NBC News reported.
Guthrie announced Kotb’s new gig on the Tuesday morning edition of “Today,” telling viewers: “This has to be the most popular decision that NBC News has ever made.”
Kotb was also jubilant. “I am pinching myself! I think we should some medics to Alexandria, Virginia, where my mom has likely fainted after hearing the open of that show.”
In an email, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack gushed about Kotb’s credentials, praising the longtime “Kathie Lee & Hoda” co-host for her unique gifts.
“Hoda is, in a word, remarkable,” Lack said. “She has the rare ability to share authentic and heartfelt moments in even the most difficult news circumstances. It’s a tribute to her wide range and her innate curiosity.”
Her colleagues at NBC also rejoiced in the news.
— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) January 2, 2018
— Al Roker (@alroker) January 2, 2018
— Jenna Bush Hager (@JennaBushHager) January 2, 2018
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Kotb said she had received a text from Lauer – who has remained conspicuously silent since news broke of his transgressions – congratulating her promotion.
“He texted me and said congratulations and some really nice words, and it meant the world when I saw the text pop up,” she said. “My heart just went like, you know, it meant the world to see that.”