Hoda Kotb is exploring her career options.
EW has learned exclusively that the Today co-host is quietly meeting with studios and pitching herself for new hosting gigs, such as a daytime talk show. The moves could signal an upcoming exit from the NBC position that she’s held since 2007, or simply represent a savvy negotiation tactic — Kotb’s contract with Today expires this fall.
A source close to Kotb downplayed the odds of a fourth-hour shakeup and denied the co-host wants a new series: “Hoda loves her job at the Today show and adores everyone she works with on the show. Her contract is coming up and she’s just expanding relationships and having coffee with a few people.”
Given all the Today rumors, one certainly can’t blame Kotb for wanting to keep her options open. Most reports have centered on anchor Matt Lauer, with a recent report claiming CNN’s Anderson Cooper was approached about taking over his slot. NBC has denied that Lauer is leaving the show.
Kotb and her fourth-hour co-host Kathie Lee Gifford have been the target of media speculation as well. Gifford has reportedly pushed to move the hour to Los Angeles to be closer to her kids, resulting in “tension” between the hosts. The show recently shot two weeks in L.A., but the co-hosts have dismissed the idea of a permanent relocation on the air.
Earlier today, Kotb, who is also an NBC News correspondent, and Gifford taped an episode celebrating their fifth anniversary of working together. The episode airs Friday. Today had no comment.
Here’s a recent Today segment that received plenty of online pickup, with Hoda and Gifford riffing for nearly 10 minutes about personal grooming “down there”: