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.
Ms. Kotb (pronounced COT-bee) had replaced Mr. Lauer on an interim basis since he was fired in November over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with a subordinate. Mr. Lauer is among the most high-profile names to have been ousted in a national reckoning over sexual harassment in the workplace, along with Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.
The appointment is the first time that two women will be the program’s official main hosts; “Today” has an overwhelmingly female audience and is the network’s most profitable franchise. The decision signals a turning point of sorts for NBC: In addition to the Lauer scandal, the network also reviewed 2005 footage from an NBC-owned show in which President Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitalia but was beaten to publication by The Washington Post, and passed on an exposé of Mr. Weinstein by an MSNBC contributor.
Savannah Guthrie, the show’s other anchor, announced the news of Ms. Kotb’s appointment during Tuesday’s broadcast.
“We are kicking off the year right, because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of ‘Today,’” Ms. Guthrie said, sitting next to Ms. Kotb. “This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made, and I am so thrilled.”
Ms. Kotb, 53, responded: “I am pinching myself.”
For more than 20 years, millions of people tuned in to see Mr. Lauer in the morning, as well as on an array of major NBC programs, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Winter and Summer Olympics, and a prime-time forum in which President Trump faced off with Hillary Clinton.