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Hoda Kotb named NBC "Today" anchor, replaces fired Matt Lauer

NBC fires Matt Lauer

It's official: Hoda Kotb will replace former NBC anchor Matt Lauer as Savannah Guthrie's co-host on the "Today Show."

Guthrie announced the change just after the show's open on Tuesday morning, saying, "Hoda is officially the co-anchor of Today.  This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made and I am so thrilled." 

Kotb, 53, has hosted the 10 a.m. hour of "Today" with Kathie Lee Gifford since 2007 and has been a "Dateline NBC" correspondent since 1998.

NBC has been looking to fill the seat since November 29 when the network announced Lauer, a 20-year veteran of the show, was being fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior."

Lauer had been co-host of "Today" since 1997, propelling the show to the top of the morning show ratings with co-host Katie Couric. It fell to second place behind ABC's "Good Morning America" following the departure of longtime news anchor Ann Curry in 2012 after just a year as co-host.