With the news that Matt Lauer has been fired from NBC’s TODAY show over a sexual harassment allegation, the question now shifts to who will replace the longtime anchor. An official decision could come fairly quickly — news shows tend to move fast to fill open slots and prefer on-air consistency. But with who? Who could best fill Lauer’s anchor loafers?
Viewers and insiders have some suggestions:
— Willie Geist: The co-anchor of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and anchor of Sunday TODAY has been a frequent fill-in anchor for Lauer, making him familiar with the show’s format, its roster of hosts, and loyal viewers.
— Thomas Roberts: The former MSNBC host and first openly gay anchor of a national news program recently announced he was leaving the cable network for other endeavors, but we hear his name is being floated to replace Lauer and that he hasn’t been signed anywhere else yet.
— Ann Curry: Fans were upset over Curry’s tearful departure in 2012 amid a strained relationship with Lauer and have taken to Twitter to lobby for her return. Given that Curry also reportedly had some conflicts with the show’s executive leadership, however, the network seems likely to prefer to find somebody new.
— Megyn Kelly: It’s highly unlikely that NBC would double down on their new hire, who has struggled to maintain ratings in her later morning slot. But as a big name on the payroll, the possibility of Kelly getting a battlefield promotion can’t be entirely dismissed either.
— Craig Melvin: Promoting the TODAY weekend co-host would be a safe-if-unexciting choice … but NBC often likes safe-if-unexciting choices, and already took a big and pricey gamble recently by hiring Kelly.
— Tamron Hall: Hall left NBC when the network hired Kelly amid a reported dispute with NBC executives over the decision to bring on the Fox News anchor. She feels like a longshot to return given the manner of her exit, but you never know…
— Anderson Cooper: NBC was rumored to have looked into wooing the CNN anchor to replace Lauer a few years ago. But Cooper signed a “long-term” contract with the cable network in 2016 and is almost certainly unavailable anytime soon.
— Carson Daly: The Voice host is on NBC’s TODAY team already and has plenty of experience as an interviewer and host, but this seems pretty doubtful — we hear NBC would prefer somebody with more news experience for the top spot.
Other names being suggested: Also CNN’s John Berman and New York 1’s Pat Kiernan.