Savannah Guthrie was selected to fill the hole left by former TODAY co-host Ann Curry, who watched helplessly as NBC scrambled to replace her following record low ratings. This week, Guthrie made her debut as co-host on the popular morning program, alongside Matt Lauer and Al Roker. As a fan of Ann Curry, Guthrie’s shift to the co-hosting gig isn’t particularly thrilling, as I still hold the belief that the seasoned journalist got the shaft by her superiors. Still, at least the network went with someone who’s already established herself with viewers. That should make the transition a bit easier for devoted TODAY fanatics.
“This was a little unexpected, as we all know, but I just want to say that I’m so proud and honored to be in a place occupied by so many women I admire,” Guthrie explained. She added that it was nice to have a job that “you can describe as fun and actually mean it.”
Although media speculation about Curry’s departure was rampant, the network itself has said very little about her replacement. However, NBC New President Steve Capus explained to the Hollywood Reporter that Curry didn’t have the enthusiasm for the “fluff” pieces that the network required her to tackle. Curry’s expertise is in serious journalism, so feigning excitement over cooking segments and celebrity pieces wasn’t exactly her forte.
This week may be Guthrie’s “official” first week as co-host, but it’s certainly not her first rodeo. One day before Curry bid farewell to viewers, Savannah took the spot next to Matt Lauer, resulting in Good Morning America’s complete annihilation of TODAY in the ratings. According to Nielsen, GMA stomped a hole in its competitor to the tune of 670,000 viewers.
NBC is hoping that Guthrie’s warm personality and jovial manner can help bring viewers back into the fold. Sadly, a lot of folks are none too pleased with the way the network has handled Curry’s departure, which may ultimately cost them in the long run. Personally, it’s kind of hard to view TODAY in the same light knowing that they’ll boot their hosts at the drop of a hat if they fail to meet expectations.