It’s official: Hoda Kotb is the new permanent co-host of “Today” on NBC.
Kotb had been the temporary replacement for Matt Lauer since November.
But, throughout the past month, she seemed to impress all the right people.
Her earnest, delicate on-air handling of Lauer’s dismissal was widely praised, CNN noted, after the former “Today” co-host was fired for mounting allegations of sexual harassment.
“This is a very tough morning for both of us,” Kotb said on the day of Lauer’s firing, sitting alongside co-host Savannah Guthrie. “It’s hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know, who walks in this building every single day.”
Kotb’s promotion to co-host is a big deal, and fans and celebrities were quick to celebrate the occasion.
It’s the first time “Today” as been anchored by two women, bucking tradition that typically places a man and woman in co-host roles.
Fellow NBC stars Kathie Lee Gifford, Al Roker, and Lester Holt sang Kotb’s praises.
Actor and producer Mindy Kaling said she was “looking forward to [Kotb] lighting up [her] morning in a brand new way.”
Singer-songwriter Darius Rucker chimed in, “You go girl.”
Chelsea Clinton sent warm congratulations.
The fact that Kotb is a woman of color also shouldn’t be overlooked, some pointed out.
With Hoda Kotb now confirmed as Matt Lasuer’s replacement on the Today show, this is the second time a talented person of color got a top job at NBC News after scandal forced out the white, male star. (Lester Holt taking over for Brian Williams was the first).
— Eric Deggans at NPR (@Deggans) January 2, 2018
Of course, Kotb seemed over the moon about her new role.
“Whaaaaaatttttttt!” she captioned on Twitter with a photo of her and Guthrie.
“It could not happen to a sweeter, better, more beloved person,” Gifford said on-air Tuesday morning.
While Lauer’s absence may have initially shaken the “Today” team, it hasn’t shaken the morning show’s ratings.
In fact, in the weeks that followed his dismissal, “Today’s” viewership actually increased as Kotb sat in as co-host, besting rival “Good Morning America” for the first time in over a year, according to The New York Times.
Over on CBS’ “This Morning,” Charlie Rose’s departure didn’t spark a ratings downturn either; viewership has held steady after the iconic journalist was fired for sexual misconduct just days before Lauer’s dismissal.
Maybe morning newsmen aren’t so vital in 2018 after all?