NBC will use Savannah Guthrie’s maternity leave from “Today” as an opportunity to give other members of its morning-show team a turn at co-hosting the program’s first two hours.
Natalie Morales will initially fill in for Guthrie, who will begin maternity leave after Monday’s broadcast of the show. Tamron Hall and Hoda Kotb, who hold forth, respectively, in the show’s third and fourth hours, will also fill in during the days ahead, as part of a rotation, according to a spokeswoman for the program.
Surprise guest hosts will appear on certain days. “We will announce guest hosts at a later time," said Megan Kopf, the spokeswoman for the show.
Matt Lauer continues his duties as the show’s other co-anchor in its 7 a.m and 8 a.m. hours.
Guthrie, who announced her pregnancy on “Today” in March, will take a step away from the program as it is striving to make gains against first-place rival “Good Morning America” on ABC. As part of a recent overhaul of the show, “Today” is making efforts to present a first hour with a newsier focus, and Guthrie, a former White House correspondent with a law degree from Georgetown University, has played an integral role in that effort.
At the same time, NBC has worked to put a broader spotlight on the entire “Today” on-air staff, with Hall often filling in for Carson Daly in the show’s first two hours, and a series about turning 50 with Kotb at the center. Guthrie’s leave will likely allow other “Today” anchors to enjoy an expansion of their duties, for a time.