When Matt Lauer was fired from NBC due to sexual misconduct, many people wondered who would replace him on TODAY. Lauer had been with the network for 20 years, and his presence was a staple on the iconic morning show.
After almost two months of speculation, NBC confirmed that longtime reporter, Hoda Kotb, would replace Lauer on TODAY.
"Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah [Guthrie], and the two have quickly hit the ground running," Andrew Lack said in an email to staff. "They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of TODAY. Hoda is, in a word, remarkable. She has the rare ability to share authentic and heartfelt moments in even the most difficult news circumstances. It's a tribute to her wide range and her innate curiosity."
Kotb will anchor the first two hours of TODAY with Guthrie, and continue to host the fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford. They will be the first all-female duo to host TODAY, and are bound to do an excellent job.
However, the salaries for Kotb and Guthrie were revealed, and people are upset with the numbers.
Multiple sources confirm that both Kotb and Guthrie are earning $7 million per year for their gigs on TODAY. While this a figure many people would love to make, it pales in comparison to what Lauer was making during his time on the show.
Kotb will be working twice the amount of work as Lauer did, working from 7am to 11am while Lauer worked 7am to 9am, but Lauer was making $25 million a year from the network. New addition to the network, Megyn Kelly, is making around $20 million for her work.
But, the professional that she is, Kotb isn't complaining about the discrepancy.
"Hoda isn't complaining about the money. She has landed the big job she always dreamed of, and most definitely deserves. Plus, Matt's salary reflected the long time he was on the show "” 25 years." an insider said. "If things go well, Hoda could ask for more next time if she re-ups her contract. But the figures underline the huge wage disparity at NBC News."
Britt McHenry, a conservative commentator, doesn't agree with the pay difference.
"It's a ratings and viewership business, so I understand talent will be compensated at varying degrees according to a few factors. But Kotb has been at "˜Today' for a long time and is extremely popular," McHenry said. "Not only should Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie make salaries comparable to Matt Lauer, they should be commended for steering the program embroiled in controversy back on the right track."
McHenry's claims are true, as NBC noticed a huge spike in viewership after Lauer was fired from TODAY. Industries insiders speculate that he was starting to turn viewers away.