It’s an extra-special new year for Hoda Kotb as she was named permanent co-host of NBC's “Today.” This morning, “Extra” was with Hoda and Savannah Guthrie to discuss the big news.
Hoda, who had been filling in since Matt Lauer was fired in November over sexual harassment accusations, revealed that her former colleague has reached out to wish her well, saying, “Matt sent a text this morning saying congrats and that meant a lot, meant the world.”
Guthrie has been touch with Lauer as well, sharing, “We all have. There is no question our hearts are with Matt and always will be and we love him. There is no one that would be cheering Hoda more than Matt.”
Guthrie went on to say, “This has been a really hard time for our show and we always want to mention that there are some women who came forward and were really brave to tell their stories and we honor and admire them, too. This is just one of those situations that’s complex and we have an array of feelings around it. We are just trying to do all of it with love and compassion for everyone involved, and today we have some excitement with this new partnership.”
Hoda was smiling ear to ear over her new role, commenting, “I am, like, pinching myself. This is one of those things, when Savannah played the open, and then played it again… it’s one of those things that you never in your lifetime actually ever imagine happening — you just don't. We've been sitting together for, like, more than a year, kind of, anyway, so I just got a little closer — I scooted over a little to Savannah.”
Savannah pointed out that Hoda always tries to downplay things, explaining, “This is history. This is such a special moment for our show and everybody here… we're just so excited.”
As for how her promotion came about, Hoda said, “We talked about it a little around Christmastime and we were talking about it because it was sort of a natural thing… and it just sort of felt like, I guess, a natural progression. It felt kind of comfortable, I think.”
Savannah added, “It was just working.”
She continued, “None of this was planned, obviously but then when we all saw how much it worked and how good it felt and how we hope viewers like this pairing, too, it was kind of a no-brainer: Of course we want to keep it going.”
Hoda said, “I always feel like if we're having fun and being ourselves that the viewers will join in on that ride with us.”
But have no fear, Hoda will still be taking viewers on a ride with her pal Kathie Lee during the 10 a.m. hour of “Today” as well. She joked, “Drinking needs to be done, okay? You need to get smashed at some point in the day."
Savannah chimed in, “I'll keep her sober till 9... after that, it's anyone's guess.”
Hoda replied, “All bets are off!"