Today show on weekend

‘Today’ show hosts share ‘shocking’ and ‘appalling’ Matt Lauer rape allegations

Almost two years ago, “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie fought back tears live on the air while telling viewers that her co-anchor Matt Lauer had been axed for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” Colleague Hoda Kotb sat in Lauer’s seat — which would become hers not long afterward.

It was déjà vu on Wednesday morning, as the “Today” show anchors told their viewers some disturbing new details about those allegations, including charges that Lauer raped a former NBC News CMCSA, -2.15% employee at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“I’m having a weird moment, that we were sitting here just like this two years ago,” said Kotb, adding that she and Guthrie “did a little prayer” before coming on the air to decide how to handle the situation.

Overnight, troubling new allegations about former TODAY anchor Matt Lauer were revealed from journalist Ronan Farrow’s soon-to-be-released book “Catch and Kill.” @MorganRadford reports the details. pic.twitter.com/7ooO3oAJ5X

— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 9, 2019

The accusations are laid out in Ronan Farrow’s new book, “Catch and Kill,” which Variety read ahead of its scheduled Oct. 15 release date and published on Tuesday night.

The book identifies the woman — who also made the original 2017 complaint against Lauer — as Brooke Nevils, who was former “Today” co-host Meredith Vieira’s personal assistant. Nevils claims that after getting drinks with Lauer and Vieira, she went to Lauer’s room, where he raped her anally even though she “declined several times.” She said he “just did it” and it was not consensual.

NBC News released the following statement in response to the Variety report: “Matt Lauer’s conduct was appalling, horrific and reprehensible, as we said at the time. That’s why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague.”

‘They’re not allegations of an affair, they’re allegations of a crime, and I think that’s shocking to all of us here who’ve sat with Matt for many, many years.’

On the air Wednesday morning, Guthrie and Kotb once again appeared to fight back tears as they took a moment to get real with their viewers.

“This is shocking and appalling, and I honestly don’t even know what to say about it,” said Guthrie. “And it’s just very painful … it’s very, very, very difficult.”

Hoda reflected on how this has rocked her perception of someone that she worked with for 12 years.

“You feel like you’ve known someone for 12 years … you feel like you know them inside and out, and then all of a sudden a door opens up, and it’s a part of them that you didn’t know,” she said.

Related: How to respond after someone close to you is accused of sexual assault

“They’re not allegations of an affair, they’re allegations of a crime, and I think that’s shocking to all of us here who’ve sat with Matt for many, many years,” she added. “So I think we’re just gonna continue to process this part of this horrific story.”

Both anchors also stood behind Nevils. “I know it wasn’t easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then, it’s not easy now, and we support her and any women that come forward with claims,” said Guthrie.

Read more: Hoda Kotb has officially taken over Matt Lauer’s ‘Today’ show co-anchor spot. What does that mean for female news anchors?

Lauer denied the claims in a 1,300-word open letter given to Variety on Wednesday, where he described his sexual encounter with Nevils as “extramarital, but consensual” — and included details about the sexual acts he says that they engaged in.

Lauer also countered that Sochi was the first of many sexual encounters between the two, which continued after they returned to New York. He slammed the rape accusation as “categorically false, ignores the facts, and defies common sense,” and painted it as “part of a promotional effort to sell a book.”

Read more: Matt Lauer’s rape denial letter is ‘a case study in victim shaming,’ his accuser says

NBC isn’t the only network rocked by charges of sexual misconduct against one of its stars, however. Just as the Me Too reckoning was building steam in 2017, Charlie Rose was also fired from “CBS This Morning” for inappropriate behavior, as were NBC’s Billy Bush, “Today” producer Matt Zimmerman and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.

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In late January 2020, some fans of the morning news talk show the “Today” show questioned whether long-time weather man and co-host Al Roker would be leaving.

We sent an email to NBC asking whether Roker had any plans to leave but received no response in time for publication. However, we found no evidence that Roker is leaving. The idea that he is leaving appears to have been generated by a confusing headline.

On Jan. 12, 2020, the magazine Good Housekeeping published a story with the headline, “‘Today’ Fans Go Wild Over Al Roker’s Next Big Career Move.” Many read that to imply Roker was literally making a career move by changing jobs. But that’s not what the story says. Instead, it reports Roker’s “big career move” is a new upcoming book.

Good Housekeeping reports:

Today show star Al Roker is taking on a brand new project — and his fans couldn’t be more thrilled for him.

This past Wednesday, the beloved weather man announced during the show that he will be penning his own book of essays called You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success.

According to Al, the new book will reveal lessons he’s learned over the past 40 years working in broadcast television. The book, which will be released on June 2, will also cover his childhood in Brooklyn and Queens, what he’s learned from past Today legends like Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel, and his life parenting his three kids with his wife, acclaimed journalist Deborah Roberts.

Because we found no publicly available information stating Roker was leaving the show, and because the headline of the article being shared in relation to this question appears to have been misunderstood, we rate this claim “False.”

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It was 6:37 a.m. on a cold January Sunday, and my cell phone was ringing off the hook.

Groggily, I reached over and answered, my eye mask still on my head.

“Hello?”

“Hey Morgan. It’s the assignment desk,” the person on the phone told me. “Willie is sick. ‘Today’ is asking if you can anchor.”

A jolt passed through my body. Did I hear him correctly?

“What time is it?” I asked.

“Almost 7,” I was told. “The show starts at 8. They need you on set in 45 minutes.”

NBC News correspondent Morgan Radford.Courtesy of Morgan Radford.

I leapt from my bed and hopped in the shower. This was urgent. Usually, anchors arrive three hours before their show. They research stories, rewrite scripts and review the news. There would be no time for any of that today.

There was also the fact that I had rarely anchored for NBC, let alone a solo-hour of “Today.” I was hired as a general assignment correspondent by the network almost three years ago. I covered mostly breaking news, from the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro to the recent terror attack in New York City. I had experience anchoring at my previous job at Al Jazeera America – but the “Today” show was something different, a venerated institution watched live by millions of Americans every day.

Needless to say, I got to the studio as quickly as I could, arriving 20 minutes later in the sweatshirt I had slept in the night before.

Willie, the anchor of “Sunday Today,” was sitting at the cluster of computers beside the control room along with the executive and senior producers going over his scripts.

Get the knowyourvalue newsletter. Morgan Radford preparing to anchor “Sunday Today” earlier this month.Courtesy of Morgan Radford.

“Thanks so much for coming, Morgan. So sorry to wake you up at the last minute,” a producer told me.

“We think Willie may be okay,” his executive producer added, “But his voice is going in and out. Why don’t you get your make-up done, protectively?”

But by 7:30 a.m., Willie’s voice was gone completely.

Running out of the makeup room, I swapped my college hoodie for an “emergency dress” I always keep in the communal closet at work. Minutes later, I was on set, wires swiftly being connected down my back, my earpiece plugged in.

“Morgan? Can you hear me?” the executive producer said from the control room. “Sorry to do this to you on such short notice, but we have to start rolling in five minutes. Are you good to start?”

My heartbeat doubled. Was that sweat on my forehead?

“Of course!” I said, trying not to show my nerves.

The lights came on. Scripts were shoved in my hand.

I had just started reviewing the first page when I heard:

“This is Sunday Today….”

As the cameras began rolling, Willie used every last bit of his vocal cords to sit on set with me and tell his viewers what was happening: “I sound like Peter Brady going through puberty. So in an act of TV heroism, my colleague Morgan Radford answered an early morning call to the bullpen, hustled over here just a few minutes ago…”

Then, Willie stepped away from the desk – and just like that, we were off!

Over the next 60 minutes, I helped guide our viewers through what was happening in the world, from the White House to the red carpet. We hosted a question-and-answer session with NBC’s “Meet The Press” moderator Chuck Todd, a man I have never met in person but deeply admire. Throughout the program, I tried to stay 15 seconds ahead by quickly scanning my scripts during commercial breaks.

It was a tremendous opportunity – and admittedly, I was nervous.

I couldn’t help but think about how research shows that male employees almost never hesitate when given an opportunity; they feel ready. But women, we often doubt ourselves, looking for confirmation of our readiness before we leap. On this particular day, I knew I had to leap.

I thought about how my father once told me “the antidote to fear isn’t knowledge, it’s trust; trust in your own ability and in the memory of past achievement.” Having the answers won’t ever ease our fears, he explained, because we’ll never have all the answers. But if you trust in your preparation, if you rest into the deep understanding of your own capabilities, then the memory of your past success should serve as a reminder that there is no room — or need – to doubt your future.

In fact, opportunities like this are far more sweet because of the setbacks that have made me stronger: the rejection I received the first time I applied to journalism school, the news director who told me I didn’t have a “traditional” undergraduate degree to pursue this career, the hours I spent in my early career sleeping on a couch at work between 14-hour overnight shifts. Too often we celebrate the peaks without understanding the valleys, and it’s the valleys that give us the why– the answer that powers us forward, and the question that any storyteller knows is most important.

But the truth is, on that particular Sunday morning, I didn’t dwell on those things in real-time. In fact, I didn’t have time to process what was happening.

After the show, the producers thanked me and we all hugged our crew. Willie remained in the studio the entire time to make sure the show went off without a hitch; weather anchor Dylan Dreyer was very gracious to make me feel comfortable on set.

Ten minutes later, as I was walking out the door, my work phone rang again. The news desk was now sending me to Massachusetts to cover a snowstorm – a far different assignment than the one I had just moments before. It would be another 36 hours before I would sleep again – churning out five live shots and four new stories in below-freezing temperatures.

But you know what? Even that was preparation for the next time; the next time a teammate needs a hand and you’ve got to be ready to step up from the bullpen.

So that when the phone rings, you’re ready to take the call.

  • Kristen Welker is the new co-anchor at Weekend Today alongside Peter Alexander.
  • Kristen replaces Sheinelle Jones, who stepped down in late December to spend more time with her family.
  • Kristen started as an intern at Today back in 1997. She is married to her husband of two years, John Hughes.

From now on, Saturday mornings at Weekend Today will star NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker. As announced by Carson Daly, Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker on Friday, Kristen will now run the morning program along with Peter Alexander, following Sheinelle Jones’s departure in late December.

“It is the honor of a lifetime,” she said on the Today show.

In light of the Weekend Today casting change, here are some interesting facts to know about Kristen:

Kristen has long been in the Today family.

Before she became a highly accomplished journalist, Kristen interned at the Today show back in 1997 while studying history at Harvard. She also worked as a researcher at Weekend Today before getting her first on-air job at KRCR-TV in Redding, California. After that, she moved on to the NBC affiliate WCAU in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where she’s from originally).

Five years later, she joined NBC News and eventually became the official White House correspondent. Over the years, she’s filled in on NBC Nightly News and MSNBC. Most recently, Kristen moderated the all-female-panelist Democratic Presidential Debate on MSNBC in November. Now, she’s found a home on Weekend Today.

Kristen and her husband have the cutest love story.

View this post on Instagram

Five years ago this week I met my best friend, my prince and my partner forever. I love that we celebrate our first date every year – it’s just one thing that makes all of it so wonderful and exciting.

A post shared by Kristen Welker (@kristen.welker) on Oct 18, 2019 at 7:36pm PDT

Kristen and her husband, a marketing director named John Hughes, got married on March 4, 2017 in Philadelphia. The two met back in 2014 thanks to their mutual friends setting them up together. Kristen recalled to The New York Times that John won her over officially one night when he made her a presidential trivia crossword puzzle.

In 2016, John dropped to one knee and asked Kristen to be his wife right in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. — the perfect location for a political reporter.

She’s already best buds with her Weekend Today co-star Peter Alexander.

While announcing her new Weekend Today job, Peter called Kristen his “big little sister,” and went on to say that “she is one of my best friends in the world, not just professionally, but personally. I really do consider her part of my family.” Likewise, Kristen said Peter was like her “brother.”

View this post on Instagram

We brought D.C. to NY today! What an honor and treat to host @todayshow with my friend @peteralexandertv ! Hope you all have a great one!

A post shared by Kristen Welker (@kristen.welker) on Aug 27, 2019 at 7:26am PDT

The New York Times reports that Kristen used to vent to Peter about her bad dates and relationships before meeting John.

Can’t wait to see what fun they will bring to the weekend program!

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Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.(Nathan Congleton/NBC)

Savannah Guthrie is back on the air! The journalist returned to the TODAY show Monday after recovering from retinal surgery last month.

“When I say ‘Good to see you,’ I really mean it,” Guthrie, 48, told viewers on the NBC morning show. Hoda Kotb was equally happy to have her friend back at work. “I gotta tell you, it feels so good to have you sitting right here,” she gushed.

“When I say, ‘Good to see you,’ I really mean it.” @savannahguthrie is back with us this morning, and we couldn’t be happier! pic.twitter.com/aQU1zXpmAQ

— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 6, 2020

The TV personality expressed her excitement on Twitter by sharing photos of herself back on set. “This is my ‘I’m so happy to back with all my @TODAYshow loves’ face,” she wrote.

Guthrie told TODAY, “I see the year 2020 but not 20/20 just yet,” adding, “My vision is blurry but will ultimately be mostly back to normal. I need a new prescription when my vision settles down.”

Back in November, Guthrie’s son Charley, who turned 3 in December, accidentally hit his mom in the eye with a toy train, which inadvertently tore her retina. The incident caused the mom of two to temporarily lose vision in her right eye.

This is my “I’m so happy to back with all my @TODAYshow loves” face pic.twitter.com/dLe4JoCiZW

— Savannah Guthrie (@SavannahGuthrie) January 6, 2020

Related: Watch Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb Sing “Jolene” with Dolly Parton on TODAY

“He’s 2, so he doesn’t even know what he did,” Guthrie said calling into TODAY after it happened. “I wouldn’t want to make him feel bad for it. He hears me talking about it and he has no idea. I was FaceTiming with my mom to tell her and he came running in and said, ‘I did it!’” She joked with her coanchors, “He’s a bruiser!”

After undergoing unsuccessful laser treatments, Guthrie’s doctors determined that the journalist needed surgery to reattach her retina. “The retinal tear had deteriorated sharply, and I lost my vision,” she told PEOPLE after the procedure. “And that’s what happens if you don’t fix this: You lose your sight.”

Related: Savannah Guthrie’s Children’s Book Focuses on ‘Working Together for a Common Purpose’

“That was the first time I felt freaked out,” she continued. “I was hoping that they weren’t going to get in there and see, ‘Oh, it’s worse than we thought. We can’t fix it.’ That was probably the lowest I felt, because I was just really scared.”

Thankfully the surgery went off without a hitch, though the recovery proved to be “uniquely challenging.” Guthrie was required to lay facedown the first day after her procedure and had to switch between laying facedown and sitting up every hour. “Your body starts hurting in different places, lying down like that,” she admitted.

Despite it all, Guthrie doesn’t want her son to feel guilty. “He’s a little boy. He didn’t mean to do that,” she said. “He got a two minute time out and that’s it. I would ever want him to feel responsible.”

TODAY‘s Hoda and Savannah are like sisters! Read about the pair’s off-screen relationship here.

10 things to do this weekend in NYC

Weekend warriors, we’ve got your back.

There are plenty of reasons to get out of the apartment so you don’t have to realize your fear of missing out. Here are our picks for things to do in New York City this weekend.

Friday

Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco is open for the Winter at City Point in Brooklyn. (Courtesy Dreamland Roller Disco)

Visualize NYC by the numbers at MCNY

A new multimedia exhibit on the importance of the census will opens at the Museum of the City of New York on Friday called “Who We Are: Visualizing NYC By The Numbers.” The exhibit is filled with old maps, documents, info graphics and photographs relating to the census in order to help viewers decipher the importance the population count, including a reproduction of a page from the 1790 U.S. Federal Census for New York where Aaron Burr’s name and family information were taken down. Find out more here. ($20 includes admission to the museum; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 1220 Fifth Ave., Manhattan; mcny.org/exhibition/who-we-are)

Step into a ‘SuperDisco’ at Avant Gardner

Celebrate ‘Friendsgiving’ for a good cause

Williamsburg’s brewpub Randolph Beer is giving 20 percent off all beer from its self-serve Beer ATM all day and $1 buffalo and Korean hot wings and house pints from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday. 100% of the proceeds will go to Bank for New York City. (104 South Fourth St., Brooklyn; randolphbeer.com)

Channel Beyoncé at this roller disco

Dreamland Roller Rink at City Point is throwing a Beyoncé -themed disco night on Friday, where skaters can glide around the 10,000-square-foot rink as Queen Bey’s music pumps. Dress up in your best skating outfit and hit the floor. ($18 with skate rental; 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.; City Point, 445 Albee Square West, Brooklyn; eventbrite.com)

Saturday

Pop into Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery’s pop-up

For one day, the Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery is hosting a pop-up show with Lady K-Fever’s DSNY recycling Art Truck onsite and the official launch of the “I love Graffiti” Clothing Series: NYC Graffiti Kings and Graffiti Herstory.” Each series features design collaborations with legendary graffiti writers and Hip-Hop artists, including limited-edition shirts, hoodies, tote bags, mugs and accessories, as well as spray painted canvas artworks, hand-crafted bags, jewelry and more. (Free entry; noon to 8 p.m.; Scrapyard NYC, 300 West Broadway, Bronx; ediblebronx.ediblecommunities.com)

Head to the Sugar Chalet at Bryant Park

Popsugar is building a holiday hideaway at the Overlook at Winter Village at Bryant Park that will have seasonal sweets, a wellness retreat, makeovers, shopping, yoga and more on Saturday only. (Free; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; West 40th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Manhattan; popsugar.com/sugarchalet)

Check out Angel Olsen’s Spotify pop-up

Angel Olsen and Spotify are celebrating Olsen’s new album with an “immersive audio journey” called “Behind All Mirrors.” The pop-up takes visitors through a guided tour inside a labyrinth of “otherworldly” spaces and sounds. (Free; 3:30 to 8 p.m.; Villain, 307 Kent Ave., Brooklyn; behindallmirrors.splashthat.com)

Watch ‘Medium Cool’ with John Sayles

Academy at Metrograph is presenting a special screening of “Medium Cool,” a film starring the late Robert Forster, who plays as a a television news camera operator who, shooting in Chicago during the summer of the Democratic National Convention, experiences a political epiphany. The film will be introduced by John Sayles, who directed “Matewan” and “Lone Star.” ($15 ; 2:30 p.m.; 7 Ludlow St., Manhattan; metrograph.com)

Sunday

Indulge at the Brooklyn Chocolate Fest

Sample all kinds of chocolate from vendors, including pudding shots, spicy hot chocolate, chocolate stuffed wontons, vegan truffles and much more at the Brooklyn Chocolate Festival. The Mesi Chefs, a cooking comedy show, will also perform for this family-friendly event. ($10; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Aviator Sports & Events Center, 3159 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn; eventbrite.com)

Celebrate the ‘Pawlidays’ with your doggo

The Urbanspace Holiday Market is hosting a night called “Happy Pawlidays,” where customers can shop with their dogs, take professional holiday portraits with them, meet rescue dogs with Social Tees, relax with New York Therapy Animals, and enjoy a performance by The Jingle Belles. There will also be special giveaways for both pets and their humans. (Free entry; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Union Square, Manhattan; urbanspacenyc.com)

Take your doggo to Union Square on Sunday for a professional photo of you both. (Courtesy Union Square Partnership)