Television host Hoda Kotb was named the new co-anchor of the NBC News “Today” show on Tuesday, replacing former co-host Matt Lauer several weeks after the longtime anchor was fired for inappropriate sexual behavior, according to a network statement.
Kotb will join Savannah Guthrie during the first two hours of the popular program, starting at 7 a.m. EST (noon GMT), and become the first pair of women to host the show along with weatherman Al Roker and Orange Room host Carson Daly. Kotb will continue co-hosting the 10 a.m. hour of “Today” with Kathie Lee Gifford.
“It’s 2018 and we are kicking off the year right because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of Today,” said Guthrie, 46, who announced the news during the program’s opening moments.
Kotb, 53, quickly filled in as co-host when Lauer was fired on Nov. 28 after a female colleague complained to NBC officials about a pattern of inappropriate sexual behavior that began while they were on assignment at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, according to the network.
At least two other women went to NBC with similar complaints against Lauer following the first allegation. None of the women has been publicly identified.
Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I‘m committed to beginning that effort,” Lauer said after he was fired.
“Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running,” NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said in an email to staff, according to Today.com.
#SavannahHodaTODAY was a top-trending topic on Twitter following the announcement as fans and NBC News colleagues congratulated the host on her new position.
Kotb was born in Norman, Oklahoma and grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and Alexandria, Virginia. She lived in New Orleans, Louisiana throughout the 1990s.
Kotb’s parents are from Egypt. Kotb and her family lived in Egypt for a year, as well as in Nigeria. She has a brother, Adel and a sister, Hala. Her mother, Sameha (“Sami”), works at the Library of Congress.
In her biography, Kotb mentions that she is of Coptic ancestry, from both Lower and Upper Egypt, and details her family’s experience in Egypt and as immigrants to the United States. In examining Coptic genealogy, the people are referred to as Copts. Most live in Egypt and number about 17 million individuals. Many cultures are blended over the years for the Coptic culture. A mixture of Pharaonic, Roman, Greek and Arab cultures, along with present-day Egyptian society represents Coptic traits.
Kotb graduated from Fort Hunt High School in 1982. She was elected homecoming queenand selected to speak at her graduating class’s Baccalaureate service.
In her college years at Virginia Tech, Kotb was a member of Delta Delta Delta Women’s Sorority, Beta Nu Chapter.
In 1986 Kotb graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism. Kotb was the keynote speaker at her alma mater for the 2008 Virginia Tech graduation, and in her speech, played Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” over her iPod.
In 2010 Kotb was elected to a three-year term to the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors.
In 2005, Kotb married former University of New Orleans tennis coach Burzis Kanga.The marriage ended in divorce in 2008.
In March 2007, Kotb underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer and has since become an advocate for breast cancer awareness. Kotb allowed Today Show cameras to follow her throughout her cancer battle. After she was declared cancer-free, her story was documented on the show.
Kathie Lee Gifford is toasting her longtime Today show co-host, Hoda Kotb. Hoda, who has worked alongside Kathie Lee as co-host of the Today show’s 10 a.m. fourth hour since 2008, has been named as Matt Lauer’s permanent replacement on the NBC morning news program. While the move comes amid the sad news of Lauer’s sexual misconduct scandal, Kathie Lee Gifford has nothing but good things to say about her friend Hoda Kotb’s promotion to Savannah Guthrie’s co-anchor on the Today show.
“I feel happy for her because she is having the greatest year of her life, and if she’s happy, I’m happy for her,” Gifford told People. “What’s happening to her now is something she would have given anything for earlier on in her career.”
Although she has remained loyal to Matt Lauer in the weeks following his shocking firing from the Today show, Kathie Lee Gifford went on to say that nobody is more deserving of the high-profile promotion than Hoda Kotb is.
“She has a life to go home to that means more to her than anything she could have dreamed of,” Kathie Lee said.