*Radar Online is reporting that staffers at the “Today” show are upset that former co-anchor Katie Couric is rumored to replace current co-anchor Savannah Guthrie when she goes on maternity leave later this year…and not somebody in-house, like Tamron Hall or Natalie Morales.
Even though Couric was part of “Today” for years, “Asking her to fill in for Savannah is really a disservice to Natalie and Tamron,” an insider told Radar. “You already have two seasoned pros that are a part of the show, ready, willing and able to step up for Savannah. Yet, executive producers are considering offering Katie or Meredith Viera the opportunity to fill in for Savannah when she goes out on maternity leave.”
“It’s really a step backwards for the show,” the source insisted. “If the intent is to attempt to recapture the ratings glory that prevailed when Katie and Meredith were on board, it’s not going to work. If anything, it will just remind viewers how far the show has fallen since that time. The network just doesn’t seem to understand that the show has no chance of being number one with Matt Lauer as part of the show, period.”
The insider continued, “Matt is a great guy, and a true pro, but there is a perception that he was solely responsible for Ann Curry being fired. Is it fair? No, but that is just the truth that can’t be changed.”
Lauer, who works four days a week, saw his popularity plummet after Curry’s disastrous 2012 firing. Since then, “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos have reigned supreme in the early morning talk show wars.
The insider pointed out, “Co-hosting ‘Today’ shouldn’t be a stop-gap role, since Katie’s talk show got canceled, and her new gig with Yahoo! isn’t scheduled to launch for several months. Meredith Viera’s talk show is going to premiere this fall, but it’s just unseemly to have two former co-hosts come back for a short time.”
“’Today’ weekend co-hosts Ericka Hill and Jenna Wolfe could also be utilized,” the source noted. “Why waste the money when there is already so much talent available that are already getting paid?”
But another source counters, “The show has been on a roll lately with Savannah and Matt and the rest of the team. Staffers are happy and know that the Katie stuff was blown out of proportion. Everyone also knows we have great in-house talent that will likely be chipping in when Savannah’s on leave.”