The news that TODAY show co-anchor and NBC News fixture Matt Lauer had been fired by NBC for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace puts somewhat of a dampener on the network’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Rockefeller center, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, slated for Wednesday evening.
EW has learned that, despite the news, the show will go ahead without Lauer, and he will not be replaced by another NBC staffer for the event. Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Hoda Kotb will serve as hosts as originally announced.
One of NBC’s highest profile annual events, the live broadcast draws a huge crowd at the Rockefeller Center in New York city and millions of viewers around the country tune in to see the lights on enormous tree turned on. This year, the famous tradition will be followed by performances by Brett Eldredge, Jennifer Nettles, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani, and the Tenors.
On Wednesday, TODAY co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced Lauer’s termination. “This is a sad morning at TODAY and at NBC News,” Guthrie said, adding, “We just learned this moments ago, just this morning. As I’m sure you can imagine, we are devastated, and we are still processing all of this, and I will tell you right now we do not know more than what I just shared with you, but we will be covering this story as reporters, as journalists. I’m sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and we promise we will share that with you.”
NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, said in a statement that the network received a “detailed complaint” against Lauer on Monday. “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” Lack said. “Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender. We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization — and do it in as transparent a manner as we can.”
Christmas in Rockefeller Center will be broadcast Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.