Kotb is the latest “Today” show co-host to join Kelly during her 9 a.m. hour in recent days, following Matt Lauer who appeared on Monday this week, Al Roker, and Savannah Guthrie who came on last week to plug her book.
The revolving door of anchors has led to behind-the-scenes chatter that Kelly needs help carrying the hour of morning TV that NBC has given to her.
“One of the hallmarks of the ‘Today’ show is that all of the anchors seamlessly appear across all hours,” said an NBC rep. “It’s one of the show’s distinguishing characteristics. This is nothing new.”
Kelly is reportedly earning $17.5 million a year for the gig.
When “Megyn Kelly Today” launched three weeks ago, Kelly was positioned as steering the 9 a.m. hour. However, the show’s ratings continue to dip, which has caused a headache for NBC. As a result, Kelly has proven a weak lead-in for the 10 a.m. hour with Kathie Lee Gifford and Kotb.
According to Nielsen data, the show was down 12% in total viewers in Week 1, slid 24% in Week 2, and fell 23% in Week 3 compared to the same timeslot last fall, co-hosted by Roker and Tamron Hall.
Bringing in “Today” co-hosts could also be a strategic way to familiarize viewers with faces they already know and boost viewership.
Since her debut, Kelly has failed to attract many A-list guests and has dipped into the NBC talent pool (such as the casts of “This Is Us” and “Will & Grace”) for a good portion of her celebrity interviews. Though on Thursday, she snagged an interview with Olympian Michael Phelps. Aside from lackluster ratings, the reviews for her show have not been favorable.
After today’s episode, BuzzFeed’s Kate Aurthur was quick to point out Kotb’s appearance, tweeting, “Hoda was on #MegynKellyToday this morning for no reason other than to fill time.”
Director Ava DuVernay responded to the video of Kotb, writing, “Damn. That’s rough to watch.”