Another day, another damage-control move by NBC News President, Deborah Turness. This morning, she was compelled to issue a statement saying, “The entire Today show anchor team — Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Carson Daly, Tamron Hall, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb — are incredibly talented, valued and have our support. In response to the false rumors that have been circulated about our anchor team, NBC wants to be absolutely clear: The rumors are wrong — period. This is the team we are committed to. And this is the team that our viewers turn to in the morning.”
This, in response to a report in the new issue of Us Weekly, saying Geist and Morales had been fired, with Morales now in talks at ABC and Geist lined up at CBS. The celebrity suck-up mag did note those cuts were followed by NBC News’ swift whacking of GM Jamie Horowitz this week, just a few weeks after he’d been brought on board to fix the ratings-hungry morning infotainment shows, but left open the possibility Geist and Morales might not return.
Among his plans to resuscitate the show, ratings-wise: lobbing Tamron Hall back to MSNBC, catapulting former Good Morning America hot-property Josh Elliott — now with NBC Sports — into the Today newsreader chair, moving Hoda Kotb to the show’s 9 AM hour.
Earlier this week Turness KO’d Horowitz, calling him “not the right fit” after a report surfaced she was on her way out the door and Horowitz was tops on the list of possible successors.
Horowitz appears to have been a busy boy in his few weeks with NBC News.
And, lest we forget, in April, when reports got pretty thick about David Gregory’s iffy status at NBC News’ Sunday Beltway show Meet The Press, Turness fired off a memo to MTP staff reiterating her support for Gregory and scoffing at those who suggested otherwise.
“There has been a great deal written about Meet the Press in the past few days, much of it quite ludicrous,” Turness wrote back then. “I wanted to reach out to reiterate my support for the show and for David, now and into the future, as we work together to evolve the format.” She insisted “NBC News is proud to have David in the important anchor chair of Meet the Press” and that he “is at the helm” of the show “and will lead you and the program on the journey ahead.”
Four months later, Turness named Chuck Todd new anchor of Meet the Press.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.