If you tuned into the third hour of the Today show on Monday morning (or tuned in for the first time, out of sheer curiosity), no doubt you were greeted with some friendly and familiar faces. It was likely the most colorful the hour has been in over a year—or at least since Megyn Kelly Today debuted last September.
Okay, maybe they didn’t look so friendly. Craig Melvin, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker looked pretty weary—as could be expected after a well-publicized shakeup at the network last week following Kelly’s ill-advised (but telling) blackface comments, followed by a horribly tragic weekend of news.
Kotb, flanked by Melvin and Roker, somberly addressed viewers about the change in the lineup, saying:
“Today, as you know, we are starting a new chapter in the third hour of our show as it evolves. We want you to know that the entire Today family will continue to bring you informative and important stories, just as we always have.”
Prior to Kelly’s arrival, Roker co-anchored the 9 o’clock hour (EDT) with Tamron Hall, who departed upon hearing the duo were being replaced with Kelly. TMZ reports Roker was “bitterly disappointed but still gracious” at the time. (In a sweet side note, Hall went to support friend Roker, post-fallout, during his Broadway run in Waitress over the weekend.)
Last week, NBC issued a statement saying that in the wake of Kelly’s cancellation, the 9 a.m. hour would be hosted by other Today co-anchors, which could include Savannah Guthrie and, presumably, former first daughter Jenna Bush. No word yet on whether the beloved Roker, in his 23rd year with the show, will be permanently reclaiming his spot at the desk.
As for Kelly, without talent representation, her future in television is in doubt, but her exit deal from NBC is still being negotiated, with reports that she’s asking for $50 million of her purported $69 million deal. Because, as her tenure at Fox News and her president have likely taught her, racism can pay off.