On the first workday of 2018, NBC News announced a promotion for one of its long-serving hosts. Hoda Kotb is now officially a co-anchor of The Today Show, replacing the disgraced Matt Lauer, who was fired late in 2017 after his pattern of sexual misconduct in the office was made public. Kotb’s promotion represents a meaningful turning of the page for Today, a series that’s only seen its ratings grow since it got rid of the lavishly paid Lauer. Kotb is a completely logical hire — part of the Today universe for years, blessed with real journalistic chops but also a merry human touch. The pick is revolutionary in other ways, too: Pairing Kotb with co-anchor Savannah Guthrie moves morning TV further away from the retro faux-husband-and-wife style pairs that have for so long defined the genre.
Kotb and Guthrie won’t be the first team of two women leading a morning show — they were preceded by Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts on Good Morning America — but the concept is a rarity nonetheless. After Sawyer’s departure in 2009, Good Morning America snapped back into a gender-mixed team with the hiring of George Stephanopoulos. Today and the 2012 relaunch of CBS This Morning have also been long defined by their male anchors, with accomplished women tending to play second fiddle. Kotb stepping in for Today‘s first all-female hosting team ever is a break from that tradition. It’s a welcome change, especially for a show that more than any other in its space defines itself as a “family.”
That word is instructive: The traditional male/female co-host team allows for a cheery, tamely flirtatious sense of bonhomie, a breakfast-table atmosphere that feels more 1950s than 2010s. It also allowed, in the case of Lauer and of CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose (also fired late last year after the revelation of offenses against women), for family dysfunction, as one star male anchor consumed the oxygen on-air thanks to perceived star quality and acted with brash impunity off-air.
Source: Time magazine