NBC Mulls Changes to 9 a.m. Hour of ‘Today’

The Today Show
Courtesy of NBC

NBC is feeling its oats in the morning.

Having stabilized the performance of the first two hours of its long-running “Today” show after that flagship program lost standing to ABC rival “Good Morning  America,” NBC is moving to bolster other parts of the “Today” franchise, and could be willing to shuffle some of its on-air talent to do so.

NBC is mulling changes to the 9 a.m. hour of “Today,” according to four people familiar with the situation, though no plans have been finalized. One idea being considered would tweak the format of that hour to make it lighter in tone and compete more directly with its rivals, which include ABC’s syndicated powerhouse “Live! With Kelly and Michael.” Discussions among producers and talent are said to be “collaborative,” according to one person familiar with the program.

If that shift were to happen, some members of the hour’s current on-air crew, which consists of Natalie Morales, Al Roker, Willie Geist and Tamron Hall, might not feel the new environment plays to individual strengths, and could consider moving off that part of “Today,” two of these people said. Billy Bush, a popular anchor associated with NBCUniversal’s syndicated “Access Hollywood,” is under strong consideration to join the”Today” crew once his current contract with “Access” is complete, three of these people said.

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Chatter about the potential maneuvers surfaces as “Today” has gained ground against “GMA.” The NBC morning program, which has been on the air since 1952, leads its Walt Disney-owned counterpart in the number of people it lures between 25 and 54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers in news programming. Season to date as of March 10, “Today” has attracted 8% more viewers in the category, according to Nielsen. Even so, “GMA” continues as the nation’s most popular morning program, winning the most viewers overall.

With that in mind, NBC appears to be contemplating new strategies to make other parts of “Today” more robust. The network has not announced the move publicly, but Geist is expected in April to begin hosting a revamped Sunday version of “Today” that is more thoughtful and reflective in tone than its current edition.  It’s a bid to make that program dovetail more seamlessly with NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sundays as well as take on CBS’ popular “CBS Sunday Morning” at a moment of transition. CBS appears to be engineering a passing of the baton from current host Charles Osgood to contributor Jane Pauley.

While the two hours anchored by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie tend to get the lion’s share of attention – and advertising dollars – “Today” is an empire, of sorts. NBC airs more hours under the “Today” umbrella during the week and on weekends than Fox airs in primetime. So NBC has reason to add new polish to all the programs. Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb host a much looser hour at 10 a.m. on weekdays.

“Today’s” 9 a.m. hour starts off tilting towards the newsy, and then gets decidedly lighter as the hour progresses. Morales typically anchors a “News with Natalie” segment that airs in the program’s first half hour. NBC launched the third hour in 2000.

All four hosts of the third hour of “Today” are entrenched at NBCUniversal. Hall anchors an hour weekdays on MSNBC and hosts a show on the cable network Investigation Discovery that is produced by NBC News’ Peacock Productions unit.  Geist is a key player on MSNBC’s  “Morning Joe,” and will have the new Sunday duties. And Morales and Roker are staples of the “Today” flagship, appearing alongside Lauer and Guthrie each weekday.

Yet there is always the possibility that rivals might use any change to try and woo them. At least one NBC competitor has expressed interest in talking to Morales should she choose to seek new options, according to two people familiar with the matter.

 

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  1. Sande says:

    The Today Show is very good the way it is,why do you people want to change it,the anchors there now are wonderful love watching the show the way it is,why do you want to bring Megan Kelly in there with all her baggage,Savana is a sweetheart,love Hora there all great,leave them the wat they are,I don’t thing will be watching any more if Megan Kelly in 😠😫

  2. Mary Nell Franks says:

    MY OPINION IS THAT HODA AND MAT ARE THE BEST CHOICE . SHE IS THE BEST! I AM A RETIRED TEACHER WITH A MASTERS +45 HOURS, HAVE BEEN WATCHING ALMOST EVERY DAY FOR OVER 25 YEARS 7:00-12:00 SO I FEEL THAT MY OPINION IS TO BE CONSIDERED SERIOUSLY. ALSO TRY TO SAVE TAMERON HALL.

  3. Betty says:

    BETTY The Today first 2 hours needs a complete makeover. I never watch the show.

  4. kitty hale says:

    come on todays show !!! can’t watch any more to silly, need new people sorry tamron take a vacation I LIKE to watch on your talk programs but not today show to silly,,,,,

  5. Jan Paine says:

    I’m on the opposite page … Billy is doing NOTHING for me with Tamrin Hall. It’s an all out BUST. PARTICULARLY without Al. Too slow and the dynamics between him and Tamrin cannot compare to Willie!!!! Major mistake moving Willie off that hour!! I’m a LONG LONG LONG time Today show addict!!!! I’ve weathered lots of changes but HELP us. This has gotta change!!!! Send Billy off to a game show somewhere!!!!

    • Jay says:

      I can’t watch anymore. Al deserves better. TODAY show would be better off without Bushes.

      • jeremy gibbons says:

        Al Roker is the reason I watch. I also love Tamron and Willie. Adding Billy Bush looks like they’re trying to recreate a Regis and Kathie Lee type of thing. Tamron is powerful. She is completely credible handling news and political analysis, while she seems pretty at home talking popular culture. Why would they pair Tamron with a one dimensional character like Billy Bush?

    • Ronda Kildare says:

      Agree, Jan! Time to turn the channel! Willie Geist was great and provided an “adult” perspective to a lot of silliness and interruptions from Tamron. Now, we have Billy Bush to contend with. No, we don’t. We can (and will) change the channel. A game show for Billy Bush is too good of an assignment.

  6. Betty Healy says:

    I agree Billy Bush is a great addition. So sick of the “bullshit” session you had. Al is a nice guy, but should just do a short weather session only. Billy Geist is good Morning Joe contributor. Sorry to say, you don’t have right mix yet. Your ratings might have gone up by Olympics only. You are trying to attract YOUNG viewers. I find they are either working or don’t watch TV. Don’t try to attract something that doesn’t exist. I watch different programs based only on guests or subject, not interested in the host. I basically hop around. Kathy Lee and Hoda the exception, they have everything I like.

  7. sandra says:

    Billy Bush is a welcome addition to Today’s Take – he is genuine, open, excited to be there and is a joy to watch and listen to = professional and fun. By comparison, Tamron Hall is and always was, a disaster on any portion of the Today shows. She is so self centered – does she really think anybody watching the show cares about her stupid hair?? How many times must we be subjected to her rants about her hair, her clothes, etc. etc. She has also been rude on air and insulting to Dylan, Willie and now Billy. Really? the producers think this is a good thing? The last time Dylan was unable to hide her shock and disgust at Tamron for insulting her – Tamron came up with what was an insane excuse for her rudeness – obviously panicking she had gone too far – apparently if she doesn’t eat, she can’t control what she says! Really – and you chose this profession anyway? Insane rant as usual. She came across the first time alone with Billy as nervous, rude and insulting, all over the place and a real disaster! Why is she here? Replace her with Dylan and watch your ratings climb. She does not blend or work well with Billy at all – you can see him trying to get it right with her, but it’s impossible. You can see him looking at her thinking – what is the matter with you?? Remember – Willie said it first and he got out. Time for Tamron to go!! Put Dylan in there and just watch how smoothly she and Billy will work together. Tamron Hall is so annoying I can’t watch anything with her in it any more.

    • Susan Layman says:

      I totally agree with Sandra…Tamron Hall is just terrible…she needs to go…yes, replace her with Dylan right away…

  8. Clara says:

    I no longer watch Today or Today’s Take. The show has become a MESS! To many people talking at once and the information or topics are not interesting or uneventful. Tamron has the biggest mouth and never shuts up. Using the Bush due is a mistake. Sent the show to the fire pit and start over or cancel the whole thing.

  9. Bob says:

    Four is too many hosts, everyone competing. Al and Tamron trying too hard. Willy is most watchable, big mistake to replace him with Bush.

  10. I miss Willy and prefer him to Billy and please leave the 9 to 10 time on.

  11. Nancy Platz says:

    Please Please leave the today show on until 10:00am….I only get to watch from 9:00-10:00 and really miss my morning start with The today show.

  12. LISA Oliveri says:

    Love Morreales and Geist, Gutherie and lauer. Of course Al. Get rid of Tameron Hall, she is obnoxious and walks over everyone.

    • Edna says:

      I simply cannot understand why Tamron is allowed to continue the sophmorish behavior when there is clearly a groundswell of viewer revolt. Leave her on MSNBC and replace with Ms. Jones who is a MUCH better fit!

  13. LISA Oliveri says:

    Get rid of hall. She is annoying. Morrales is the staple. Give her a bigger role.

  14. Carol Ruse says:

    Tame ran Hall is obnoxious . she is a scene stealer and takes away from the conversion with her overbearing must be seen ( facial expressions, laugh and physical gestures) not to mention she over speaks and talks louder than the other participants…..does not understand concept of turn taking in conversation. and her comments are often off the mark and she stands corrected by Geist and Roker…..she is a mistake in this hour..even her interviews lack substance and depth and are filled with her voice and option….ultimately she is just rude

  15. J says:

    The best thing about the TODAY Show is Willie Geist.
    Yes – revamp the show.
    Willie can stay – everybody else can go. He can handle it on his own.
    Tamron interrupts all the time. She’s annoying.
    And by 9:00am, we’ve had enough Al Roker.

  16. Leslie faraj says:

    Seriously that garden segment was so lame- anyone can plant bulbs and water tomato plants – today needs to be more picky!

  17. I stopped watching Today after the Ann Curry fiasco. Then I switched to GMA. I watch CBS This Morning now. Who would have thought? An INTELLIGENT news program without all the fluff and glitter!

  18. KenP says:

    Just read Donna’s comment. For some reason the 9AM group talk over each other and their guest all of the time. I stopped watching before that when they let Ann Curry go. She was the only one that had any class and was a good reporter. She was the best of the crowd on the early segment and they let her go. Tried to watch the 9AM segment but it’s the same everyday, giggle and talk over each other all the time. It needs to change. If management watched their own show it would be pretty easy to figure out what the problem it.

  19. Donna says:

    My pet peeve with the Today Show and all the news shows is the annoying habit of the hosts to talk at one time and over each other…and also the fact that after the 7AM hour there is no news…it is just “celebrities’ that I’ve have never heard of..stupid Twitter news..going over what was on the air the night before just a waste of air time….

    • JMinSanDiegoCA says:

      I thought I was the only one like that! When two people are talking at the same time, I miss out on what BOTH are saying. If it continues very long, I’m gone — simply out of frustration.

  20. Valerie says:

    I personally like Tamron and Willie the best. I think they are way more relatable than Al and Natalie who are off putting to me. I definitely won’t watch if they hire Billy Bush who is more annoying than Al and Natalie put together!
    As a side note my pet peeve is the cooking segment that seem like it’s 22 seconds long! There is never enough time to finish. Just add a little time to something interesting and not so much on triviality.

  21. Diane says:

    I like all the people that work on the Today show. I can’t stand the 9:00am hour. I feel that it is a complete waste of my time. When you have a guest on the show, keep them for more than 5 minutes. I vote to change the 9:00am show!!

  22. Lynn says:

    I don’t watch 3rd hour as I can’t stand Tameron. Get rid of her! Kathie Lee and Hoda best hour of all 4 hours.

  23. LOIS says:

    NATALIE IS GREAT. VERY PROFESSIONAL. TAMERON IS NOT. TRIES TO STAL THE WHOLE SHOW.

  24. ANTHONY says:

    TAMRON HALL……. BIG THUMBS UP………..ROKER ok but not so much….(tired of looking at him)

  25. ANTHONY says:

    don’t bring billy bush in (annoying)… get rid of matt….definitely keep all the rest………………..

  26. Carole Hammond says:

    Natalie should stay on the Today show, she has a great personality and seems to be loved by all. I like her and Savannah together. Hope she does remain on the show, here’s hoping.

  27. Peggy Wickert says:

    I agree. Tamron Hall is not likeable.

  28. Pam King says:

    I quit watching Today about a year ago and went to GMA. I can’t stomach Tamron Hall any time of the day!

  29. mike says:

    Love tamron hall she is just being herself just like am being my self she make the news even fun in my opinion she an’t boring eather i got no problem with all those journalists it the viewer i have a problem with i may love them all sure don’t mean anything to what the viewer are saying know am well educate and engish language just leave it as it is maybe have carson take matt lauer place if willie for some reason ends up on weekends i got no problem with anyone work on network also m just an’t a fan of kathy lee she does not fit with hoda or jenna bush Hager not a fit eather.just my own personal opinion and feedback .

  30. David Johnson says:

    I’d be thrilled if they would just start regularly posting the host chats of KLG and Hoda in their entirety online every day. Today Obama wiped out the entire first 30 minutes of the 10 AM hour and not every market carries the overnight replays of the KLG and Hoda hour.

  31. allenehrl says:

    The only way the Today Show can recapture it’s magic is to bring back the ghosts of Dave Garroway and Jack Lescoulie.

  32. Ruth says:

    Too much of Al Roker on show. Weather report about every 5 mintues or after every segment. Really. Is that necessary. He contributes nothing to table with rest of news people. Totally useless.
    Can’t stand watching 9:00 hour. Totally boring, Need to change that hour for sure.

  33. Alli says:

    Keep willie!!! he’s awesome!

  34. chady cox says:

    Please please please get rid of Tamron Hall !! Her constant laughter is very annoying and she is not funny.

  35. Tracy Strickland says:

    I really like this hour. Its fun, they really seem to enjoy being with each other and in this world, we need more of this. Leave it as it is.

  36. This hour of Today is delayed an hour. My NBC affiliate plays “Live with Kelly & Michael” then goes back to the Today Show. The mentioned hour of Today is my favorite of all four hours!

  37. Alton says:

    In my opinion they need to leave well enough alone. I think they finally have the right mix of hosts and they all seem to have finally found their rhythm working together. Each anchor seems to appeal to a different audience and that is probably why the show is doing as good as it is now.

    Personally my favorite hosts are KLG & Hoda, Willie Geist, Al Roker, and Tamron Hall. Have never been a big fan of Matt Lauer, Savanah Guthrie, or Natalie Morales but over the last year they have grown on me quite a bit and even to my own surprise if any of them left I would probably miss them.

  38. Linda says:

    The constant gigling, laughing and talking over others makes Tamron Hall the reason I turn the chanel.

  39. Susan says:

    I stopped watching Today long ago — as soon as Samantha G appeared. She is so boring. No pizzazz. Spend some money and beg Katie C or Meredith Viera to come back.

  40. Carol Cardona says:

    The best news I’ve read in a long time is the change for Sunday Morning. I’ve watched this show for 35 years and though Charles Osgood does reasonably well, I’ve always hoped for someone else. Jane Pauley would be an excellent choice. Her manner and professionalism are perfect for Sunday Morning. I’ve been worried they were going to choose Lee Cowan. That horribly irritating voice combined with the pompadour and sideburns are too off putting. Please CBS, choose Jane Pauley.

  41. Christian says:

    Al Roker leaving would be the best thing that could happen to the show! The executives seem to hold on to the big names when IMHO they are the issue with ratings. (Just think of pompus Matt Lauer) Ratings have probably also dipped because they rush through segments and tend to over promote projects affiliated companies with NBC are associated with like other networks or movies. In the past they have let people like Ann Curry and Jenna Wolf either go or move them when they weren’t the real problem but the scapegoats.

  42. W Melton says:

    Get rid of Tamron Hall…she obviously thinks she is funny…even though she is usually the only one laughing…she adds nothing to any hour…does not appear credible…NBC has always been my almost only station, day or night, now, if she is on…well I take my eyes and ears elsewhere….Willie and Natalie would be great alone…even though I love Roker…3 hours is more than I think needed.

  43. Dusntan says:

    CBS This Morning is the preferred programming here. Actual news unaccompanied by the usualy three-ring circus of the other shows.

    • Iris Wenig says:

      i have not watched GMA for years….to much like a three ring circus…….please don;t change anything….IRIS

  44. Spider says:

    I really hope they do more than just tweak it. A great example would be an automatic mute delay for when they all talk over each other. Willie seems like the only level-headed host, Roker is good, but tends to be cheesy and over the top more often than not! Tamron and Natalie, though easy on the eyes, are annoying as hell…… Note to NBC: Please feel free to do away with 4th hour of the Today Show. Kathie Lee and Hoda are just insipid, TV filler. That is just a waste of a valuable hour!

    • Guest says:

      KLG and Hoda is not a waste of a valuable hour. -_-

      • Alton says:

        Spider you must be smoking crack! Hoda & KLG are at times so hilarious I have tears rolling down my face. They are an extremely valuable asset to the Today Show! By far, they are the most fun hour of the Today Show. They don’t do much to raise the journalistic integrity of the show but they do wonders at raising the fun and joy factor and with everything going on in the world now we need as many laughs as we can get. It is also great to see two females working together who don’t just get along but seem to genuinely love and respect each other. I LOVE KLG & HODA!!!!!

      • LA says:

        EXACTLY….Kathie Lee and Hoda have a HUGE viewing audience. A very refreshing show.

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