On Tuesday morning, just hours after NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced that Hoda Kotb would be co-anchoring Today alongside Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker took to Twitter to defend his co-worker after a fan of the show stated that she "was looking for a seasoned man".
For NBC's Today, 2017 was as big a year as any in the morning news show's recent past, with the biggest headlines coming as longtime anchor Matt Lauer was sacked in the aftermath of sexual misconduct allegations.
"Hoda, you are a partner and a friend and a sister and there is no one I'd rather be doing this with", Guthrie said.
"I am pinching myself", Kotb, who said she was offered the role over the holidays, replied. Megyn Kelly hosts the show's third hour.
Speaking to PEOPLE about that day now, Guthrie said she and Kotb "were in it together" and added, "We are family, and families do go through hard times, and when that happens in good families, you just get closer".More news: Padmavati row: Censor Board seeks 26 cuts, change in title to 'Padmavat'
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In a Tuesday email to staff, Lack said that Kotb over the last several weeks 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 makes Kotb and Savannah Guthrie the first pair of lead women anchors on Today, though they're not morning news TV's first head female duo. "I think that we should send some medics to Alexandria, Va., where my mom has likely fainted". She joined the network in 1998, first as a correspondent on the "Dateline" newsmagazine.
Kotb will continue to co-host the 10 a.m. hour of "Today" with Kathie Lee Gifford, a job she has held since 2008.
Multiple women have since come forward to accuse Lauer of sexual misconduct as well.
Lauer's eventual replacement had always been the subject of internal angst but with a sudden decision forced upon the network, Kotb's performance made it easier.