Longtime Today show veteran Hoda Kotb, who on Tuesday officially replaced the disgraced Matt Lauer as an anchor on the popular morning show, has reportedly received a contract worth less than a third of Lauer’s. Speaking with The New York Post, NBC sources said that Kotb would be making $7 million a year — the same as co-host Savannah Guthrie. Before Lauer was fired for alleged serial sexual harassment of his co-workers over several years, he had commanded $25 million a year.
“Hoda isn’t complaining about the money,” the Post reported one Today show insider having said. “She has landed the big job she always dreamed of, and most definitely deserves. Plus, Matt’s salary reflected the long time he was on the show — 25 years. If things go well, Hoda could ask for more next time if she re-ups her contract. But the figures underline the huge wage disparity at NBC News.”
Kotb is taking on big responsibilities for Today, as she will not only host the morning show from seven to nine a.m., but also appear again with Kathie Lee Gifford during the ten a.m. hour of the show. It’s the first time in the iconic morning show’s history that the prime hours of the program will be anchored by two women.
In comments made to Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday, Kotb revealed that she got a text from Lauer following her promotion, and courted controversy while explaining the difficulty she and other Today hosts were having navigating their prior friendship with Lauer alongside the revelations that had led to his ouster.
“I did hear from [Matt], yeah,” she said. “He texted me and he said congratulations and some really nice words, and it meant the world when I saw the text pop up. My heart just went like, you know, it meant the world to see that.”
“Matt is our good friend and continues to be, and I think for both of us, we’ve just been trying to navigate this time and honor our love and friendship with Matt, but also understand and try to learn more about these circumstances,” she added. “It’s complicated when you are surprised by revelations, but you still care deeply for somebody who’s a friend. I think for all of us, we’ve just been trying to navigate through that, with straightforwardness and honesty and integrity.”
As for her her salary going forward, Kotb may not be complaining about the huge disparity with Lauer’s pay, but some are. At The Daily Beast, senior editor Tim Teeman argues that Kotb deserves to be compensated “handsomely” not only because of the feminist symbol NBC putting forth by elevated her to the Today show anchor, but because she has adeptly held down the anchor chair with aplomb right from the very moment she and Guthrie delivered the stunning news of Lauer’s firing in late November just moments after learning the news herself.
Read the full story at The New York Post.