'Popular decision'

Hoda Kotb selected to replace Matt Lauer as ‘Today’ show co-anchor

'Today' show co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. (Twitter / NBC News)

NBC rang in the new year on Tuesday by announcing that longtime reporter and anchor Hoda Kotb be would officially take over the Today show anchor chair left vacant after Matt Lauer was fired in late November amid a slew of sexual misconduct allegations. Savannah Guthrie made the announcement at the top of Tuesday’s edition of the show, saying, “It’s 2018 and we are kicking off the year right, because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of Today. Let’s give her a round of applause.” As the in-studio staff and Guthrie (and tourists looking in the studio windows from outside) clapped for Kotb, Guthrie added, “This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made, and I am so thrilled.”

“There’s no one I’d rather be sitting next to in 2018 than you,” Kotb said to Guthrie as the two embraced hands. Watch the moment the news was announced below.

The news of Kotb’s promotion brought congratulations from her NBC News colleagues, several of whom gave her a shoutout on Twitter, and others.

2017 was a pivotal year in Kotb’s personal life. In February, after a noticeable absence from the show, of which she has long hosted the fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford, Kotb revealed to viewers that she had adopted a baby girl, Haley Joy. Later on Tuesday’s show, as she was talking with Megyn Kelly, who joined the Today show in 2017, Kotb’s daughter was on her mind. Since the day Haley was born, everything changed,” Kotb said. “And everything keeps getting better.”

Kelly posited that Kotb’s infectious positivity is coming back and rewarding her. Watch the moment below.

As Brian Stelter of CNN pointed out, Kotb joined NBC in 1998. The decision by the network to feature two women as the co-anchors of the iconic morning TV franchise is a departure from conventional wisdom, Stelter noted. Given how the male portion of the show’s anchor setup recently turned out, though, this seems like a wise move indeed by the Peacock Network.

“Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running,” NBC News chairman Andy Lack wrote in a statement. “They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of Today.”

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.