Hoda Kotb Has Matt Lauer’s Job, But Nowhere Near His Salary: “Not Even Close”
Yesterday it was announced that Hoda Kotb would be taking over the co-anchor seat at Today, filling in the post that was once Matt Lauer’s following his dismissal after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced in November. And while Kotb, 53, will be doing double duty, co-anchoring while also continuing to co-host her 10 a.m. show with Kathie Lee Gifford, according to the Hollywood Reporter, her compensation won’t be nearly as much as Lauer’s was.
The publication’s independent news analyst and contributor said that while NBC wouldn’t share information on Kotb’s compensation for her new role, he speculated that she could walk away with $5 million a year.
“This is a symptom of the correct economic decision to downsize the role and not throw millions and millions of dollars at it,” he said.
And according to former CBS News president Andrew Heyward, the choice to find talent in-house didn’t require the network to try and throw out a number close to Lauer’s for another popular and sought-after talent from the outside.
“I’m sure [Kotb’s] going to make a good dollar, but the big, splashy outside talent raid is maybe yesterday’s news,” he said.
For context as to why he may have been paid so much, Lauer was with Today for more than 20 years, starting as a newsreader on the program in 1992. He stepped in and was named co-anchor in 1997 after Bryant Gumbel left the desk. He was said to have a good on-camera presence, and his interviews with many major figures left people talking (Tom Cruise, Kanye West, his 2016 interviews with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump). As for Kotb, she has worked for NBC as a whole since 1998, beginning as NBC News’ national correspondent before joining Gifford for the 10 a.m. hour in 2007 at Today. Kotb had been the interim co-anchor since it was announced that Lauer was axed on November 28.
But for the record, Kotb told PEOPLE she’s just fine with her compensation in her new role and knows that $20 million is “not happening” anytime soon.
“I think the whole money thing for me, I’ve always been sort of — I know it sounds ridiculous that I’m going to say this, but I really have done jobs I liked for the job I liked because I never wanted to be happy every other Friday on pay day,” she said. “Like, I didn’t want that to be the happy day. I wanted to feel good throughout. So no, I’m not making Matt Lauer money. Not even close.”