×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Matt Lauer Fallout: 10 Potential ‘Today’ Show Replacements

The firing of Matt Lauer on Wednesday for inappropriate sexual behavior leaves a gaping hole on the “Today” couch.

Lauer was NBC News’ $25 million man and the face of the most prominent and profitable morning news show. It’s hard to find another person who can  make a frittata on camera before seamlessly transitioning to a sit-down interview with presidents or world leaders. Over Lauer’s 20 years on the show, he had developed great versatility in delivering hard and soft news.

Here’s a look at the men and women that NBC News may consider to fill Lauer’s co-anchor slot on the flagship 7 a.m.-9 a.m. broadcast opposite Savannah Guthrie.

CRAIG MELVIN
Pros: He offers some reporting heft, having covered school shootings and political conventions, but also is a familiar face in the “Today” orbit thanks to his role anchoring the Saturday edition.
Cons: Melvin is a perfectly pleasant on-air presence, but he doesn’t exactly exude excitement.
Verdict: After the Lauer implosion, the safe choice might be the smartest option.

MEGYN KELLY
Pros: She’s given voice to sexual harassment victims by boldly speaking out against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Talking about sexual harassment and interviewing victims in high-profile cases has become the focal point of her 9 a.m. talk show, which was floundering before the Harvey Weinstein scandal turned her focus to harassment.
Cons: Kelly’s early weak ratings in the 9 a.m. hour that follows “Today” raise questions about her viability as a morning show personality, particularly in the “Today” world.
Verdict: She’ll probably stick with “Megyn Kelly Today” in the 9 a.m. hour.

WILLIE GEIST
Pros: After frequently subbing for Lauer and heading the Sunday edition of “Today,” Geist knows the gig. Plus, as a “Morning Joe” regular he’s got Beltway insiders on speed dial, making him a natural to cover all things Trump.
Cons: A bit stale. Geist was frequently seen as an heir apparent to Lauer, but never got the call. He might be too much of a known quantity.
Verdict: If Joe and Mika can live without him, Geist may be moving to a different part of 30 Rock.

ANDERSON COOPER
Pros: Funny, smart, and one of the most talented people in TV news.
Cons: Under a long-term contract at CNN.
Verdict: Dream on. Jeff Zucker’s not giving him up.

BRIAN WILLIAMS
Pros: He has achieved a measure of redemption as an anchor on MSNBC after losing his “NBC Nightly News” anchor slot for repeatedly “misremembering” his reporting experiences.
Cons: The lingering stain of the “Nightly News” scandal would make him a controversial choice.
Verdict: Williams stays at 11 p.m. on MSNBC.

ANN CURRY
Pros: Vindication after Lauer helped drive her dismissal in 2012 as his co-anchor on “Today.”
Cons: Internal NBC News politics aside, Curry had her limitations playing the morning show game.
Verdict: Poetic justice won’t extend that far.

CARSON DALY
Pros: A member of the “Today” family, Daly is a familiar face to the program’s fans and has a peppy, appealing manner.
Cons: The host of NBC’s “The Voice” frequently hops between coasts during the regular September-May TV season.
Verdict: Lacks the news training and necessary gravitas to handle breaking news.

HODA KOTB
Pros: She is beloved within NBC News and a consistent fan fave. Kotb was on hand Wednesday morning as Guthrie dropped the bombshell about Lauer’s firing. She could be a stabilizing force for a morning show team that’s been rocked by upheaval.
Cons: Kotb is a big draw for the fourth hour of “Today” opposite Kathie Lee Gifford.
Verdict: Kotb could be a short-term fix but probably not the long-term solution.

KASIE HUNT
Pros: News-breaking chops as one of the top political reporters in the business. As morning news revs up its White House coverage, she has the kind of Rolodex “Today” might find irresistible.
Cons: She just started anchoring her own MSNBC show, “Kasie DC,” two months ago.
Verdict: Too soon to make the jump.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS
Pros: 
The “Good Morning America” anchor knows how to deliver the news of the day to viewers who are still reaching for their morning coffee.
Cons: He’s under contract at ABC, where he wears many hats, including that of chief news anchor and host of Sunday morning’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
Verdict: Disney/ABC TV chief Ben Sherwood will erect a military blockade in Times Square to keep him at “GMA.”

(Pictured: Craig Melvin, Megyn Kelly, Kasie Hunt)

More TV

  • Bette Midler, Judith Light Join Netflix's

    Bette Midler and Judith Light Join Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' on Netflix

    Bette Midler and Judith Light will guest star on “The Politician,” the first series Ryan Murphy will launch on Netflix after he inked a deal with the streamer last year. Murphy made the announcement at the end of Saturday’s PaleyFest panel for his FX series “Pose,” and noted that Midler and Light will both appear [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Indya MooreFX's

    Patti LuPone Joins FX's 'Pose' as Season 2 Jumps to 1990

    “Pose” co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Broadway legend Patti LuPone will guest star on the upcoming second season of the FX drama, and that the series will jump ahead to 1990. Murphy made the announcement while moderating the “Pose” panel at PaleyFest on Saturday, telling lead actress MJ Rodriguez that she will share many scenes [...]

  • The Good Doctor

    Series Mania: Freddie Highmore Talks ‘The Good Doctor,’ Arsenal, Norman Bates

    LILLE, France —  God, Freddie Highmore’s good at crying. There’s a scene in “Neverland,” screened at his Series Mania masterclass, where he’s acting opposite Johnny Depp. His mother has just died. Highmore sits on a park bench, clutching a notebook, which she helped as tears well in his eyes, and he tries to keep in [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content