ENTERTAINMENT

NBC renews Savannah Guthrie’s contract at ‘Today’

Savannah Guthrie replaces Lester Holt for a night

 

NBC News has quietly extended the contract of “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie, according to a person familiar with the matter, representing a bet that the show’s current on-air team has what it takes to continue the momentum the morning-news franchise has gained in competing with ABC rival “Good Morning America.”

Terms of the deal could not be immediately learned. Guthrie last signed a deal in early 2015 that was to have kept her at the network for at least three years. During her most recent tenure, she has also served as a substitute for Lester Holt on “NBC Nightly News” and was one of the network’s anchors during recent special coverage of the U.S. presidential election.

NBC renewed a deal with Guthrie’s co-host, Matt Lauer, earlier in the year.

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“Today” has burst out in the ratings at important moments. It has for months dominated both “GMA” and “CBS This Morning” among the viewers that advertisers want in news programming. people between 25 and 54.  During the third quarter, when NBCUniversal broadcast Olympics coverage, “Today” won more viewers overall and more in the demo than its rival, marking the show’s first outright quarterly win since the second quarter of 2012. Even so, “Good Morning America” continues as the nation’s most-watched morning program – a title “Today” held for years, then lost to its Disney-backed rival in 2012.

The shows still face challenges.. Both programs have gradually been losing audience. Results for TV’s November sweeps period show that “Today” saw a dip of 4% in total viewers and a 6% dip among viewers between 25 and 54, according to data from Nielsen.  “Good Morning America” saw total viewers fall 5% and viewers between 25 and 54 fall 7%. “CBS This Morning,” meanwhile, saw its overall viewership rise 8% during the period, while its viewers between 25 and 54 increased 11%.

Although Guthrie just secured a new agreement that will keep her on air for what is presumed to be a few more years, viewers won’t see her for a little while. She recently went on maternity leave to have her second child.