After taking over hosting duties on “Today” following Matt Lauer’s ouster amid allegations of sexual misconduct, Hoda Kotb has officially been named the new co-anchor of the popular NBC morning show.

“This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made,” “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie said on air Tuesday. “Hoda, you are a partner and a friend and a sister, and I’m so happy to be doing this.”

NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced the news, which means that, for the first time, “Today” is led by female hosts.

“I’m pinching myself,” Kotb said to Guthrie on air. “There’s no one I’d rather be sitting next to in 2018 than you.”

Lauer’s departure came amid an avalanche of reports on sexual misconduct allegations against high-profile men in entertainment and media. Kotb took over the co-anchoring duties on Nov. 29, hours after Lack had dismissed Lauer for “inappropriate sexual behavior.” At the time, the NBC News chairman said in a memo that the company had received a “detailed complaint” that represented “a clear violation of our company’s standards.”

Hours later, Variety published a report detailing allegations by multiple women that Lauer had sexually harassed them in the workplace.

“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” the former TV host said in a statement.

Suddenly, NBC News was without its high-profile co-anchor. But Kotb and Guthrie have shown that “Today” didn’t need Lauer for ratings. “Today” beat rival “Good Morning America” on ABC for weeks after his firing.

“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,” Lack wrote in his Tuesday memo, CNN reported. “They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of ‘Today.’ ”

Kotb’s promotion could help repair some of the optics damage done by Lauer. The staffing news was met with praise from broadcast journalists and others.

Kotb’s journalistic credentials run deep. She started out as a broadcast journalist in New Orleans and Fort Myers, and joined NBC News in 1998 as a “Dateline” correspondent. 

(Excerpt) Read More in: The Washington Post

Hoda Kotb Replaces Matt Lauer on ‘Today,’

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