For the first time in its decades-long history, “TODAY” will be led by two female co-anchors.
Hoda Kotb will join current co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, NBC News announced Monday, making them the first female duo to head the morning TV show throughout its 65-year history, according to the LA Times.
Kotb had been filling in for Matt Lauer ever since he was fired late November following allegations of sexual misconduct. Lauer — fired for “inappropriate sexual behavior” — had been the co-host of “TODAY” since 1997, when he first led the show alongside Katie Couric.
Now Kotb, known for her 10 a.m. “TODAY” show that featured celebrity gossip and wine drinking with Kathie Lee Gifford, will permanently join Guthrie for the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. portion of the show.
That makes them the first female team to lead the show ever — and just the second all-female team to ever headline a morning TV show since Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts did it for ABC News in 2006 to 2009, “TODAY” wrote.
“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,” Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News Group, said in a statement Monday morning, according to Variety. “They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of ‘TODAY.’”
“Hoda is, in a word, remarkable. 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.”
On Tuesday morning, she made her first official appearance as co-anchor for the show with an introduction from Guthrie, who has co-hosted “TODAY” since 2012.
“We’ve got some really exciting news to share about us,” Guthrie said at the start of “TODAY” on Tuesday. “It’s 2018, and we're kicking off the year right because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of ‘TODAY.’ This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made and I am so thrilled.”
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.”
“I’m pinching myself,” she added.
Kotb has worked as a broadcast journalist since 1986, when she started her career as a news assistant in Egypt for CBS News, according to Variety. She joined NBC News in 1998, first working as a “Dateline” correspondent.
She will also continue to join Gifford for the 10 a.m. hour of “TODAY,” which the two have co-hosted since 2008, the LA Times wrote.
Ratings could explain the decision to keep Kotb as a host of the show.
According to USA Today, “TODAY” got a ratings boost the month after Lauer was fired. The show topped the ratings for ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the first week of December — the first time that happened in three months.
“I think they looked at it and said, ‘Why would you change this? This is working, it feels good,'” Guthrie said in an interview with PEOPLE Magazine.
“When you click with someone, man, woman, it doesn’t matter. If it works, it works,” she told the magazine. “We’re sort of like sisters.”