The new “TODAY” co-anchors are revealing what went on behind-the-scenes the day NBC announce it had terminated veteran anchor Matt Lauer amid sexual harassment allegations.
On Tuesday, NBC News announced Hoda Kotb was the morning show’s official new co-anchor, hosting alongside Savannah Guthrie.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Guthrie and Kotb explained what went on the morning they announced Lauer had been terminated.
Before going on live TV to announce the shocking news to their viewers, Kotb stopped by Guthrie’s dressing room.
“We said a prayer,” Kotb said. “I won’t forget it. I said to Savannah after that prayer, ‘We’re gonna make it through this together.'”
Kotb admitted getting through the broadcast wasn’t easy.
“We just sort of sat there and I was sort of on autopilot, I don’t really remember a lot of it, but I do remember just sort of holding onto Savannah and saying it just wasn’t in our hands anymore, it was in God’s hands,” she told PEOPLE.
Guthrie said they are continuing to cope with the news.
“I think you could see from the moment that the news happened our hearts were broken, and in lots of ways, they still are,” said Guthrie. “That feeling was shared through our whole newsroom and our whole ‘TODAY’ show staff, because it sounds like cliché or a promo line, but it happens to be true: We are family, and we do love each other, and families do go through hard times, and when that happens in good families, you just get closer.”
They also shared some information about what Lauer has been up to in the days since NBC’s announcement.
“We know he’s working on his family, we know that for sure. Of course our hearts go out to the brave women who have told their stories,” Guthrie said. “What we are experiencing and processing now is how to honor and remain a true friend to someone even in spite of learning things that are deeply disturbing. And we are trying to navigate that path with integrity.”
Kotb will continue to anchor the fourth hour of “TODAY” alongside Kathie Lee Gifford. Though she’s excited for the new chapter, she doesn’t feel like celebrating.
“What I do feel is like I’ve been part of ‘us’ even before today, before it all came to be,” said Kotb. “I felt really integral to our family and I was part of the group. My chair may be changed, but I feel like I felt before. Part of a strong family.”