After Savannah Guthrie tearfully revealed that NBC fired Matt Lauer last November over allegations of sexual misconduct, The Today Show made a lot of changes. But sources claim one move puzzled some staffers and shocked others because of who lost a producer gig and who they chose as a replacement.
Did Guthrie make a power grab by getting her best friend installed as the show’s new executive producer?
Apparently Guthrie pushed out executive producer and Lauer pal Don Nash in favor of her bestie, Libby Leist. Nash started as an NBC page and has been with the network for thirty years.
Leist is a veteran senior producer and has had many roles, including traveling the world as Andrea Mitchell’s State Department producer, but the staff thought the next EP would be Tom Mazzarelli, the co-executive producer.
@radar_online Exclusive: ‘Behind-The-Scenes Boss’ Savannah Guthrie Turns Diva After Matt Lauer’s Firing
'Today' star knows she's 'all the network has,’ says sourcehttps://t.co/ez7m3Fo9q9
— Roman Barrows Todd (@Barrows_RomanTD) February 3, 2018
It is not unusual for a show to change executive producers when it makes an anchor change. Nightly News got a new EP when Lester Holt took over as anchor, and the same thing happened when Chuck Todd became the host of Meet the Press.
But, the issue for The Today Show staff isn’t that there was a change, it’s the fact that Guthrie called the shots on the hire, and they were hoping that the days of anchors having that kind of power were over when Lauer left.
Leist and Guthrie are close. They are workout buddies, and their friendship goes back to their days in Washington DC.
For the first time in the show’s 66-year history, it has two women in the anchor chairs and a woman in charge of the first two hours.
Another Today source claims that Leist didn’t get the job on a show that brings in half a billion dollars a year because she is Guthrie’s best friend. Instead, it is because she is an accomplished and talented producer, and any opinion contrary to that makes zero sense.
In the meantime, Guthrie and her new co-anchor, Hoda Kotb, have marked the start of a new era on the show, and their friendship has made its way off camera.
They had a “ladies night” to celebrate their first week together on the show, and they recently revealed that they leaned on each other after Lauer’s termination.
They broke the news together on the air, and they said that their hearts were broken during that moment and in many ways, they still are.
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb claim that The Today Show staff is a family who loves each other, and when they go through difficult times, it ends up making them closer.