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Craig Melvin named 'Today' show news anchor

The surprise announcement was made on the air Tuesday morning by co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.

Craig Melvin appears on NBC's "Today" show at

Craig Melvin appears on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Plaza on July 20. Photo Credit: AP / Invision / Charles Sykes

Craig Melvin, MSNBC anchor and co-anchor of the Saturday edition of "Today," has been named news anchor of NBC's weekday "Today" show.

The surprise announcement was made on the air Tuesday morning by co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, followed by a show tweet that read, "Exciting news! @craigmelvin will be joining us every morning during the week!"

In the wake of Matt Lauer's firing last November, Melvin made pundit lists of possible replacements. But Kotb instead was named Lauer's permanent replacement. Still, Melvin was expected to play some role on the show if only because he was — and has remained — a frequent presence on weekday "Today."    

"Before we start this whole new thing I wanted to thank my parents, who sacrificed so much for me to go to school, [and] my wife and kids at home [who] give me life," he said Tuesday morning. 

Melvin added, "I didn't have sisters growing up so looking forward to picking up two sisters, Monday through Friday," then paused, "and a crazy uncle as well." Cue to Al Roker.

A venerable job at "Today," the news anchor role has largely gone unfilled since Natalie Morales left in 2016. The news anchor role was once considered a transition role to full co-host, and while not all news anchors became hosts, the best known examples were Anne Curry and Lauer.

Nevertheless, Melvin is not expected to assume the classic "news anchor" role of going through headlines at the top of each hour. Instead, Melvin is expected to sit alongside Guthrie and Kotb as essentially a third co-host, who will also interview newsmakers and guests. It's the same role he has assumed over the past couple of years on an interim basis at "Today."    

Melvin, 39, joined MSNBC in 2011 and before that had been a weekend anchor at NBC-owned Washington station, WRC-TV. While in high school in his hometown of Columbia, S.C., he was a so-called "Our Generation" reporter for local television station WIS, which he rejoined as an anchor and reporter after graduating from Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. Melvin is married to former ESPN anchor Lindsay Czarniak.

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