With NBC’s firing of veteran “Today” show host Matt Lauer over “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace”, the morning program may be without a permanent male co-host for the first time in its more than 65-year history.
Lauer hosted the show along with Savannah Guthrie, who joined “Today” in July 2012, replacing Ann Curry, whose firing was blamed on Lauer. Guthrie announced the news of Lauer’s termination on air, along with her colleague Hoda Kotb, co-host of “Today”’s fourth hour alongside Kathie Lee Gifford.
“We are devastated. All we can say is we are heartbroken,” Guthrie said on the show.
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The show has had eight official male anchors and another six female anchors since its debut, along with a cast of supporting news readers, weather anchors, panelists and other on-air staff. Lauer was a male co-anchor of the show for more than 20 years.
The last main male co-host of “Today” was Bryant Gumbel, who left the show in 1997, allowing Lauer, who was then a news anchor, to take over a main co-host position. Barbara Walters was officially made the first female co-host of the program in 1974, according to a rundown of former hosts from ThoughtCo.
Lauer’s firing prompted a flurry of speculation about his possible replacement. A spokeswoman for “Today” told McClatchy she “didn’t really know” the next steps for how the show will go about replacing Lauer.