It didn’t take long for the warm and fuzzy feelings regarding Hoda Kotb’s replacement of Matt Lauer on the “Today” show to dissipate. Fans quickly began griping once the salary disparities were revealed.
Before the salaries were compared, Kotb, a longtime NBC and “Today” show employee, said she was excited that Lauer took the time to congratulate her on her long-coveted role as lead co-anchor at the most admired morning news program.
“He was sweet this morning. Certain texts popped up, and there was one from Matt: ‘Congratulations!’” Kotb told E! News earlier today. “And he said some nice words. … It meant the world to me to hear from him. It was really nice.”
Lauer has been incognito since being fired by NBC News last November amid allegations of decades-long sexual misconduct.
Kotb is being paid $7M per year, which is a far cry from the $25M per year Lauer was making before NBC dropped him.
According to Page Six, however, Kotb isn’t bothered by the disparity. Besides, $7M is enough to pay the bills and have more than a few loose coins left over.
“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. 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,” an NBC source told Page Six.
Kotb had filled in since Lauer’s termination, and she and Savannah Guthrie had been co-hosting the show since November. Because the transition seemed seamless and the ratings actually rose after Lauer’s ouster, NBC brass said the change is now permanent.
NBC News chairman Andy Lack announced Kotb as the permanent replacement shortly before the show aired on Tuesday, according to the New York Post. “Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running. They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of ‘Today.’ ”
“This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made,” Guthrie said on Tuesday.
“There’s no one I’d rather be sitting next to in 2018 than you,” Kotb replied as tears filled her eyes.
In the wake of the sex scandal that rocked NBC station to its core, many find it fitting that the Today show has two women leading the lineup for the first time ever.