Savannah Guthrie’s maternity leave was cut short by a few days because the network was apparently panicking that Matt Lauer and the others were unable to drive up the ratings of “TODAY.”
Guthrie, who welcomed a baby boy in December named Charley, was supposed to be enjoying his company and spending quality time with the child until March 7.
However, on March 3rd, the reporter was back on the morning gabfest much to the delight and surprise of everyone including her co-host, Lauer.
An insider close to NBC spoke to the New York Post and explained that the shakeup at the morning lineup for Megyn Kelly’s arrival did not help with the ratings.
Fans of “TODAY” have seen significant changes on the show – for example, Tamron Hall has turned down a $2 million contract with the Peacock Network and left to focus on other endeavors.
The Texan journalist resigned after it was announced that the hour she used to host with Al Roker would be given to Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.
NBC’s “Today” show’s fourth hour has been reserved for Kelly’s new program starting in the fall – her show will not be associated with “TODAY.”
A person with ties to “TODAY” spoke to the NYP’s popular gossip section Page Six and explained that they desperately needed Guthrie’s presence on the show.
The tipster shared: “The show was in a free fall. She initially announced that she’d be returning on March 3, but they were in a panic . . . and called her back early.”
According to the same source, the network did not get a ratings bounce with Lester Holt and Bryant Gumbel as guest-hosts.
The spy shared: “Their bro-show didn’t work. They needed Savannah to bail them out, so they rushed her from maternity leave. NBC claimed it was because of the influx of news, but the reality is that the show was down double-digits and they needed her.”
Meanwhile, TODAY’s rival “Good Morning America” has been enjoying a ratings boost, and recently they put out a press release that read in part: “Good Morning America’ delivers largest total viewer lead over ‘Today’ in 14 months.”
At NBC, they believe that ABC’s win was because of the Oscars’ coverage.
The source shared: “GMA has been down double-digits in the key demo [ages 25 to 54] for months while ‘Today’ has been posting gains. Last week, ABC had the Oscars broadcast, which historically gives ‘GMA’ a huge boost.”
Are you happy Guthrie is back? Do you miss Hall?