Hoda Kotb's morning just got a lot less leisurely. NBC News on Tuesday announced the 53-year-old would be replacing Matt Lauer as co-anchor of Today. She'll join Savannah Guthrie during the program's initial two hours and retain her slot with Kathie Lee Gifford during hour four. The show's opener on Tuesday featured Kotb's name for the first time, and she subsequently quipped that her name was "pronounced right and everything." Guthrie called it "the most popular decision NBC News have ever made and I’m so thrilled." Today notes the two women will be the network's first all-female morning show duo (Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts were the first to achieve the feat, for ABC News.) She has been with the network since 1998, when she started as a correspondent for Dateline, and has been sitting in Lauer's seat frequently since he was booted Nov. 28.
As NBC News Chair Andy Lack put it in an email to staff, "Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running. They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of Today." In an interview with People, Kotb says of her new slot with Guthrie, "weirdly it doesn't feel like the headline because we've worked together for a long time." Echoes Guthrie, "We're grateful to NBC for not having some old fashioned notion about what should be. I think they looked at it and said, 'Why would you change this? This is working, it feels good.'" Still, Kotb did have this to say on Twitter: "Whaaaaaatttttttt!"