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Carson Daly joins the 'Today' show

Season 4 finalists Danielle Bradbery, left, and Michelle

Season 4 finalists Danielle Bradbery, left, and Michelle Chamuel wait to hear the results from host Carson Daly. (June 18, 2013) Credit: NBC

The "Today" show is staring into the future -- and Carson Daly is staring back. In a surprise on-air announcement Thursday that makes the overhaul of the program's longtime home, Studio 1A at Rockefeller Center, even more intriguing, Daly was named the latest member of the show's "family," He'll anchor a new social media component dubbed "The Orange Room."

Daly will remain host and producer of "The Voice," but "transition" out of his longtime anchor role at "Last Call." The move sparked speculation about the future of Matt Lauer, whose current contract ends over a year from now. In fact social media commenters Thursday saw Daly's arrival as the start of an on-air bake-off with Willie Geist, Lauer's presumptive heir apparent.

But it's also clear that Daly has been pressed into a more important role for the moment -- as conductor of a new social media push at "Today" meant to position it for the future, and a run at first-place "Good Morning America."

NBC said that the Orange Room, where Daly will work, will be the "nexus" between the show and its audience, where viewers "will seek out and share news."

What will all this look like? Viewers will find out Monday when the new studio is unveiled.

Daly, 40, was one of MTV's best-known VJs (mostly at "Total Request Live,") joining "Last Call" in 2002. "The Voice" is NBC's single biggest hit outside of sports.

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