As widely expected, Savannah Guthrie will be named the new co-anchor of “Today,” according to a late afternoon story in The Hollywood Reporter — effectively confirming what many inside and outside NBC News have anticipated for weeks.
As attributed to sources inside the network, Guthrie will be named as soon as a role can be worked out for Ann Curry, who is expected to remain at NBC. Timing is something of a question: A New York Times piece last week said NBC had been working on the transition though Curry had retained outside counsel, well-known Washington attorney Bob Barnett. In other words, it's all a matter of money at this point.
Guthrie — Australian-born though educated at the University of Arizona and Georgetown, where she earned a J.D. — got the job as co-host of the third hour of “Today” about this time last year, and some industry observers figured that was more significant a promotion than Curry's. Curry stepped into the co-host role after Meredith Vieira left, then Guthrie, chief legal correspondent and a White House correspondent, moved to the third hour — seen at the time as a “grooming” move in preparation for the day Curry left, or was eased out.
Curiously, there are some — or at least were some — inside NBC who didn't think Guthrie was quite ready for the big move to the 7 a.m. mother ship. She's not particularly well-known to viewers, and familiarity is coin of the realm in these jobs. Moreover, her face time with the “family” — or at least head of the family, Matt — has been somewhat limited simply by virtue of her 9 a.m. role (the exception of course is Al Roker and Natalie Morales, with whom she co-hosts the program). She's also a serious anchor-reporter, exhibiting almost none of the looseness — or glibness — that these jobs sometimes demand
But time is now on her side. “Today” wants to get her into the role pronto, if only to give Lauer some relief in his ongoing Olympics duties. Plus, the Olympics, beginning next month, will be a glorious platform to introduce the world to this still-largely unknown newcomer.
For NBC, the transition is tricky but not remotely like the Deborah Norville-for-Jane Pauley fiasco which blew up in the network's face.