The show must go on.
The “Today” show did its best to follow the old TV adage Wednesday, as co-host after co-host grappled with the news they had just learned -- that colleague Matt Lauer had been fired after a woman came forward to complain that he was sexually inappropriate with her.
"Today" opened with the announcement from hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb about Lauer’s alleged behavior, and then, for a while at least, it was business as usual. Al Roker made a chicken dish with Padma Lakshmi and, later, the hosts bid farewell to the show’s adopted dog Charlie, who had been trained to become a service dog.
But the Lauer news kept coming up again and again. After Guthrie detailed NBC News Chairman Andy Lack’s decision to let Lauer go following “a detailed complaint,” she turned to face Kotb, her voice shaking, and they promised to “continue this important conversation.”
Kotb then went to check the morning’s other headlines, including news of a North Korea missile test. Later in the show, “Today” lightened up with Al Roker interviewing James Earl Jones.
But the show had to keep repeating the news of Lauer’s firing at various intervals for viewers who may have tuned in late to the game.
“I texted him this morning and I said ‘I adore you’”
When Megyn Kelly took over at 9 a.m., she recapped that Lauer had been fired and played clips of Guthrie and Kotb’s initial announcement.
“This one hits close to home,” said the host who recently departed Fox News and joined the show earlier this year. "I’ve known Matt for a long time, and he has been a friend, and kind, and supportive to me in my transition to NBC.”
But she also decried Lauer’s alleged behavior and voiced her support for the woman “who found the courage to come forward."
Then Kelly interviewed a 10-year-old football star and Joe Keery of “Stranger Things.”
Kotb was back on the small screen for the 10 a.m. hour alongside her longtime co-host Kathie Lee Gifford as they were obliged to again address the Lauer news.
“Hello everybody, thank you for joining us, and it’s a very, very sad day here at NBC,” Gifford told the audience with wide eyes. She gripped her hands together as she referred to Lauer as her “friend.”
“I’m sure by now you guys all know… we found out early this morning pre-dawn,” Kotb said with composure.
Gifford revealed she had reached out to Lauer since hearing the news, “I texted him this morning and I said ‘I adore you,’” she told the audience.
Gifford said she was relying on her faith to get her through the difficult news. She said we “all have sins” and “what we need now is forgiveness.”
The show then cut to a commercial before returning to discuss the details of the upcoming royal wedding.
Fans of the morning show praised how the “Today” staff handled the news, though some noted what an uncomfortable taping it must have been.