Just one day after Ann Curry's emotional exit from The Today Show, NBC has made the identity of her replacement official.
Savannah Guthrie (who joined the Today team in 2011) took Ann's former seat next to Matt Lauer this morning, and viewers might have noticed that the show began without the usual introduction of the hosts by the voice-over announcer. Why NBC felt that was was neccessary is anyone's guess, as the network publicly confirmed Guthrie's promotion just a few hours later. Even more oddly, NBC's announcement said that Guthrie will make her "debut" as co-anchor on Monday. I guess today's episode took place in the Twilight Zone then.
This development looks to end one of the most clumsily handled public relations nightmares in NBC's recent history. The overwhelming majority of viewer support was firmly behind Curry, both because people like her, and because her removal was seen as being way too sudden. You'd really think one of the big four networks could handle a long-term employee's departure with more finesse than this.
Here's the "company line" from NBC News President Steve Capus - "In just a few short years Savannah, has become a standout member of the news division as well as the ultimate team player. She’s anchored for Brian on NBC Nightly News, moderated for David on Meet the Press, co-hosted the 9 a.m. hour of Today, reported for Rock Center and Dateline, and provided legal insights in our Supreme Court Special Reports – and that was all within the last week! She’s got an undeniable range, and she’s earned the trust of the news community, her colleagues and our viewers alike. I couldn’t be happier for Savannah and the entire Today team." I kind of feel bad for Guthrie here. No matter how hard she tries, lots of Today viewers will continue to think of her as "Ann Curry's replacement."
Is it unfair to dislike Savannah Guthrie simply because she replaced Ann Curry? Could NBC have handled this situation in a much more tactful way?