Update, July 9: Today spent two minutes at the top of the show on Monday morning welcoming new co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, with Matt Lauer saying “it truly is a new day around here.”
After making Guthrie listen to the announcer re-read the opening voiceover with her name in it, which Lauer called a Today tradition, he complimented her on her “great attitude” and her “weird sense of humor.”
“7:02 and he’s already calling me weird,” Guthrie retorted.
Lauer said Today would spend time over the next couple of days getting to know Guthrie better, which on Monday included a seven-minute clip reel of moments from Guthrie’s last year on the show as well as comments from her mother, best friend and NBC News colleagues.
After, Guthrie paid tribute to her predecessor Ann Curry, as well as Meredith Vieira, Katie Couric and those that came before them saying, “This was a little unexpected as we all know, but I’m so proud and honored to be in a place occupied by so many women I admire.”
Toward the end of the 8 a.m. hour, viewers saw Guthrie play guitar with one of her favorite musicians, Shawn Colvin, who surprised her in-studio.
Original post: When NBC officially debuts its new Today show co-anchor team of Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on the morning of July 9, it will represent a significant change to the morning show landscape. But it’s unlikely to look that way on TV.
After a rocky transition from Ann Curry to Guthrie at the end of June that many say was mishandled by NBC as the negotiations to replace Curry played out in the press, Today’s priority is now to protect its new duo from viewers who were fans of Curry or those that perceive her to have been pushed out by Lauer.
After Curry announced her exit, Guthrie sat beside Lauer the next morning without mention of her presence there and only later that afternoon was she officially named successor. On her first official day, it seems unlikely she’ll get more than a brief introduction at the top of the program.
But however subtle the shift may seem on TV, the transition comes at a critical time for Today. After winning four consecutive weeks over ABC’s Good Morning America, the two morning programs tied in total viewers the week of June 25, Curry’s last. GMA even beat Today outright on Friday with Guthrie in the anchor chair, so with her now officially in place, renewed focus will be placed on the ratings and her continued effect on them.
And GMA is poised to pounce should the new Today show vulnerability. Besides no doubt being pleased to welcome viewers who may be turned off by Curry’s dismissal, ABC will launch the spinoff Good Afternoon America on July 9, the same day as Guthrie’s debut, exposing a new daypart to co-hosts Josh Elliott and Lara Spencer and the GMA brand. Let the race begin.