NBC’s “Today” is getting back into its morning routine.
Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie both returned to their duties on the NBC News program after dealing with personal challenges that kept both anchors off air for several days.
Kotb, who had been off the program for about two weeks, told viewers Monday that her youngest daughter had been in intensive care in the hospital for an undisclosed illness, but had recently returned home. Guthrie had to leave the program abruptly last week after discovering she had a new coronavirus infection.
The two anchors addressed their absences early in the program, during the broadcast’s opening minutes.
“She is back home. I was waiting for that day to come,” Kotb said. “And we are watching her closely. I’m just so happy.”
The departure of the show’s regular co-anchors came after “Today’ defeated ABC rival “Good Morning America” in the critical advertiser-favored demographic — people between 25 and 54 — for the first time in five weeks. “Today” and “GMA” are locked in an eternal battle for dominance among A.M. audiences ,but “Today,” which once dominated its rival in the advertiser demo, has been trying to parry against an incursion by “GMA” in the category.
Guthrie has dealt with coronavirus infections twice in the recent past, but Kotb’s absence, which lasted several days before NBC News offered viewers an explanation, caused concern. Press reports speculated about the meaning of the sentimental memes the co-anchor often publishes on her social-media feeds. Anchors at “Today” last week told viewers that Kotb was dealing with a “family health matter.”