With numerous reports circulating that NBC is planning to fire current Today show co-host Ann Curry, the question is: Who should replace the 14-year morning show veteran? When news of Curry's imminent ousting broke, NBC executives reportedly had Hoda Kotb, who currently co-hosts the boozy fourth hour of Today alongside Kathie Lee Gifford, on standby should Curry not show up for work. (She did.) Now, Kotb (pronounced KOT-bee) has reportedly emerged as a frontrunner to replace Curry permanently. Is she a good choice for the job?
She's perfect: Hoda Kotb is "a female Matt Lauer," says Linda Stasi at The New York Post. She's strikes a tough balance between hard-news credibility and warmth. Both Kotb and Lauer are "anchors you'd want when it comes time to announce the end of the world — and, failing that, fry meatballs with the chef du jour on a slow news day." She's a fair interviewer, questioning even the most despicable of criminals without passing judgment. She's worldly, and she's already opened herself up and endeared herself to Today viewers when she allowed the show to chronicle her breast cancer treatment in 2007. She's a "woman everybody loves — or, if not, at the very least respects."
"What about Hoda?"
She may not be serious enough: By bravely chronicling her breast cancer battle on Today, Kotb won both "respect and empathy," says David Hinckley at New York's Daily News, but the rest of her résumé might work against her. Though Today does its share of light-hearted cooking segments and dog profiles, its backbone has always been serious news. Kotb has a hard-news background as a local news anchor and as a Dateline correspondent since 1998. But current viewers "associate her with the breezy, chatty fourth hour of Today," which could prove too much of a hurdle.
"Most are betting on Savannah Guthrie of Hoda Kotb to replace Ann Curry on the Today show"
Savannah Guthrie should get the job: Since joining Today as co-host of the third hour in 2011, Savannah Guthrie has "proven a charming addition to the mix," says Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly, especially when it comes to tricky lifestyle segments. She's an engaging interviewer who's unafraid to ad lib questions, and has a much better rapport with Al Roker than Curry or news-reader Natalie Morales currently do. She radiates an "affable, kid-sister vibe with a plucky side" that works perfectly for Today, but her hard-news bonafides are there too: "She is the network's chief legal analyst."
"Ann Curry and where The Today Show should go from here"