Hoda Kotb, a longtime NBC News correspondent, will permanently replace Matt Lauer as co-anchor of NBC's flagship morning program, "Today", the network said on Tuesday. "They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of 'TODAY'".
"Welcome to Today and we are kicking off the year right because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of Today, so let's give her a round of applause", Guthrie began the show Tuesday morning.
Kotb, 53, will serve as co-anchor during the first two hours of the show, beginning at 7 a.m., and continue to appear on the fourth hour alongside Kathy Lee Gifford.
"I am pinching myself", Kotb, who said she was offered the role over the holidays, replied.
Kotb joins Savannah Guthrie at the anchor desk - making this Today's first-ever all-female anchor team. With an audience dominated by women in an era where news of badly behaving men is frequent, the Guthrie-Kotb pairing may be particularly timely.
Today weather anchor Al Roker is taking back his mocking of a fan who complained about the announcement that Hoda Kotb would replace Matt Lauer as co-anchor.
And Kotb responded: "There's no one I'd rather be sitting next to in 2018 than you".
Kotb, in turn, joked that "we should send some medics to Alexandria, Virginia, where my mom has likely fainted after hearing the opening of that show". "It's a tribute to her wide range and her innate curiosity".
The addition marks the first time a pair of women will be anchoring the program, according to NBC News. And considering Today's ratings have been rising in the month after Lauer's exit, it probably wasn't hard to come to the decision that Kotb was an easy choice for the long haul.
According to USA Today, "TODAY" got a ratings boost the month after Lauer was sacked.
"I think they looked at it and said, 'Why would you change this?"