Speculation surrounding who would become Matt Lauer’s replacement started almost immediately after he was fired from the “Today” show, and the name of South Carolina’s Craig Melvin started to surface.
Even “Entertainment Tonight” reported that the 38-year-old was a serious contender for the gig, while the Daily Mail reported said he was already in talks with his bosses.
But speculation ended Tuesday, when “Today” announced Hoda Kotb had been named Savannah Guthrie’s co-anchor.
The “Today” show also reported Kotb would continue to co-host the fourth hour of the show with Kathie Lee Gifford. Kotb has been filling in since Lauer’s firing in late November.
In an interview touted as an exclusive with People magazine, Kotb described her relationship with Guthrie as being “sort of like sisters.”
“It was such a shock to wake up one day and not have Matt, but it was the most natural and comforting thing in the world to have Hoda right there,” said Guthrie of her new co-host. “No one wanted that to stop.”
Kotb joined NBC News in 1998 as a correspondent for “Dateline,” according to “Today” .
Though her ascension to full-time co-host is exciting for her fans, it’ll likely break the hearts of some of Melvin’s, who had been hoping the “Today” weekend co-anchor would become an addition to the weekly team.
Even Melvin celebrated Kotb’s promotion on social media.
Melvin grew up in South Carolina’s capital and graduated from Columbia High School. When he lived in Columbia and worked for WIS, he was seen jogging in the Rosewood area, retrieving his dog from his neighbors’ yards, hanging out at St. Pat’s in Five Points, the Rosewood Crawfish Festival and several area bars.
Melvin has been part of the NBC family since the get-go. He started his career in 2001 at Columbia’s WIS, an NBC affiliate.
Cynthia Roldán: @CynthiaRoldan