An alleged feud between hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie of “The Today Show,” one of America’s most-watched morning shows, created so much buzz on social media. While it wasn’t the first time that talks about them having conflict surfaced online, this time around, more people took it seriously. The fans were divided on the validity of this rumor, especially when some of them only based it on what they perceived as awkwardness between the two halfway through 2022. Even other TV personalities used the suspected feud as a joke in their shows, which further heightened the belief that there was some truth to it.
- 1 Everything about “The Today Show”
- 2 The alleged feud between Savannah and Hoda
- 3 The truth about the feud and how they addressed the rumors
- 4 Get to know Hoda and Savannah
- 5 “Today” ratings increased amidst the feud controversy
Everything about “The Today Show”
For decades, NBC’s “The Today Show,” often referred to simply as “Today,” provided news and entertainment to its viewers every morning from 7:00am to 11:00am. It started as a two-hour program, but another two hours were added as its popularity grew. It became so successful that in 2016, it was reported that in the first couple of hours on air, it generated close to $510 million in advertising revenue. To ensure that they stayed relevant through the years, NBC executives ordered that they revamp their studio now and then – they incorporated a “home base” platform that could spin 360 degrees, and which had the capability to offer different camera views every 30 minutes, to avoid boring their audience with the same look for four hours.
How did it start?
Back in the 1950s, the NBC think tank brainstormed for something new to offer its audience, amidst the growing competition among the TV networks in the US. The network vice president back then, Sylvester L. Weaver, who later became its president, created the morning show which initially had the working title, “The Rise and Shine Revue.” While they changed the title to “The Today Show,” the original concept remained, and it premiered on 14 January 1952. It proved to be the pioneer in blending hard news, entertainment, lifestyle features and interviews into one TV show.
It was generally aimed at attracting loyal radio listeners to tune in to television, and it worked. Other networks started to create their own morning shows using a similar format, including “Good Morning America” from ABC and “The Early Show” from CBS. Even other countries soon followed, with ITV’s “Good Morning Britain,” CTV’s “Your Morning,” and BBC’s “BBC Breakfast.”
Some of the most popular “Today’s” TV anchors over the years
“Today” was responsible for making many people become household names just by being part of its team of presenters or hosts. As the number of hours of the program increased, the number of hosts that they had in the show also grew. Some of them stayed with the TV show for many years, until they retired, moved to another show, had a falling out with other hosts, or were fired due to controversies.
Matt Lauer was with the show for 20 years, but was terminated due to sexual misconduct. Katie Couric resigned from her job after 15 years, to be the first woman to anchor the evening news at the rival network, CBS. Jane Pauley chose to leave the popular show after it hired Deborah Norville, saying in an interview that it would be best to go on her own terms, before she was told to go.
The iconic Barbara Walters was with “Today” for 10 years, starting as a writer in the show – it was still the time when women weren’t allowed to handle hard news. It was also reported that one of the hosts, Frank McGee, didn’t want to do joint interviews with Barbara, unless he was given priority in asking the first few questions of the guests. She wasn’t credited as a host of the show until 1974 when Frank died, and she ultimately became the first female host of “Today.”
The current hosts of “Today” – the first all-female anchor duo
Before Matt Lauer’s sexual harassment scandal, he co-anchored the show with Savannah Guthrie. When he was fired, Hoda Kotb, one of the featured co-anchors during the second hour of the show, took over his hosting duties, and by January 2018, Savannah and Hoda had become “Today’s” first all-female anchor duo. Some of the NBC executives said that the two had great onscreen chemistry, and that viewers could easily relate to both of them. The other segment anchors on the team were Al Roker (weather), Carson Daly (social media), Craig Melvin (news), and Jenna Bush (correspondent). They were also joined by Natalie Morales (West Coast), Sheinelle Jones, and Dylan Dreyer (3rd Hour Today).
The alleged feud between Savannah and Hoda
A rumor can easily be just a statement, an observation, or a story that was passed around without anyone verifying if it was true, and Hoda and Savannah were its latest victims.
How did the rumor start?
Weeks after Hoda was confirmed to be Savannah’s new co-anchor for the “Today” show, rumors started coming out about their true relationship. Some people maliciously insinuated that according to their inside ‘sources’ from the network, Savannah never liked to be paired with Hoda from the get-go. However, she didn’t have any choice but to accept it since the decision came from the top brass. Some fans were skeptical about this, and thought that some people might be just stoking the fire for people to either watch the show or gain clicks for their online content. It didn’t help that over the years, the show had a history of hosts allegedly leaving due to rivalry and clash of egos.
Some believed that the tension between the two escalated, and it became noticeable in their onscreen engagements. For instance, there was a cooking segment in the show in which Savannah was supposed to be preparing a salad with the cookbook author, Elizabeth Heiskell, and it seemed Hoda was impatiently waiting for them to finish. Some fans said that Hoda even interrupted them by asking if they were done, which irritated Savannah because their guest was still discussing something. It was the reason why Savannah replied, ‘Yeah, that’s it. Moving on. We’ll just move on, we don’t have time for all that.’ Insiders said that most of the time, the two handled their differences quite well, especially when they were in front of the cameras, but occasionally they slipped up.
Their absence from the TV show exacerbated the feud rumor
In one episode of the show in August 2022, viewers were surprised when both Savannah and Hoda were absent. More people tended to believe that they were indeed fighting, and fans started analyzing their movements in the show, as well as their social media posts, if they were throwing shade against each other. Hoda was out on vacation leave, and according to the “Today” staff, the reason why Savannah wasn’t present was simply that she overslept and couldn’t get to the show on time. One of their news reporters even tweeted and tagged the host with ‘It’s ok we’ve alllllll done it.’
Jealousy-fueled battle of egos with Jenna Bush Hager in the middle
According to some sources, there was an underlying competitiveness between Hoda and Savannah which they attempted to cover up by trying to project a friendship. However, they said that Savannah was quite furious, because she thought that she would be the front and center of “Today” after Matt Lauer was fired. Her huge ego, they said, took a beating whenever they would come out of the studio to greet fans in the square. Apparently, people chanted louder for Hoda’s name, and that didn’t sit well with Savannah.
Things allegedly went south when Jenna Bush came into the picture. Aside from being chosen to replace Matt, Hoda hosted the entertainment-focused fourth hour of the show with Jenna. This created more tension between the two, because the former first daughter was said to have a close friendship with Savannah, but it seemed that Hoda became closer to Jenna over the years that they worked together. There were allegations that they ganged up on Savannah on many occasions.
Thanks for having us! https://t.co/xtaXqnSHsM
— Savannah Guthrie (@SavannahGuthrie) May 18, 2022
The truth about the feud and how they addressed the rumors
Most experts would recommend that the best way to address rumors was to cut them dead by telling everyone that you were aware of it, and that it wasn’t true. Here are some of the things that popular TV personalities such as Hoda and Savannah did to squash the rumors:
Social media posts proved that their friendship was real
When Hoda and Savannah took vacations from their hosting duties, tabloids and gossip-mongers insinuated that the two were quitting the show. These new narratives probably prompted the two to use Instagram to crush those malicious rumors. In the second week of August 2022, Hoda uploaded a photo of them embracing each other and captioned it, ‘Just because– and thank you!!! It was absolutely perfect!! Xoxoox.’ Savannah left a comment, ‘Love you mostest.’ While most of their fans were relieved to see both of them interact on the social media platform, there were still those who thought that it was full of crap. A few weeks later, Savannah posted a photo of them together on “Today” signaling that they were happily back working after their vacation.
Shut down the feuding rumors at BravoCon
In October 2022, there were still those who insisted that the feud was real, and the co-anchors were given the chance to refute them when they attended the BravoCon. During an interview with ETOnline’s Brice Sander on the red carpet, they were asked about it, and before they gave their two cents, they laughed out loud. It was quite obvious that they didn’t take the rumors seriously, and found the whole situation stupid. Savannah said, ‘We don’t (have a feud). It’s the silliest, but, you know, what can you do?’ Hoda concurred and said, ‘I feel like sometimes some things just sell magazines, and you’re buying it! What are you thinking?!’
The “Real Housewives” parody proved that the two were closer than ever
When the so-called feud went several rounds in social media, which gave birth to more ridiculous stories, the two co-anchors remained unconcerned. They even had a “Real Housewives” parody entitled “Real Anchors of Today”, that had them dish out sassy taglines that would have been difficult to pull off if they were hostile towards each other. Apparently, the two were fans of the reality-TV show, and were happy to do it as it was a dream come true to say those one-liners to describe their larger-than-life personalities. When they were interviewed about it, their chemistry was openly on display, as they would end each other’s sentences as if they were an old married couple.
Meet the Real Anchors of TODAY 💎 pic.twitter.com/Mx0joOk22x
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 14, 2022
Get to know Hoda and Savannah
Long before Hoda and Savannah were hired as anchors in the “Today” show, they’d both been broadcast journalists on local television stations.
Hoda Kotb was born on 9 August 1964, in Norman, Oklahoma, to parents Abdel Kader and Sameha “Sami” Kotb. Her parents emigrated from Egypt in the 1990s and had roots in the Muslim faith. She and her siblings, Adel and Hala, grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, but lived in Egypt for a year. It was there that she realized that they might look a lot like their cousins, but lived quite differently as most of them wore hijabs. She said that one of the best gifts she received from her parents was that they’d migrated to the US. She was an active and popular student in high school, and was elected home-coming queen. It followed her when she entered Virginia Tech, where she enjoyed membership in the prestigious Tri-Delta women’s sorority (Beta Nu chapter), graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, and was chosen as the graduating class representative to speak during the baccalaureate service. After graduation, Hoda became a reporter for CBS and ABC-affiliated local stations for many years, until she finally joined the NBC network in 1998.
While she enjoyed a successful TV career, her personal life didn’t fare so well, as her two known serious relationships failed. Her marriage to the tennis coach Burzis Kanga ended in divorce in 2008 and her engagement to financier Joel Schiffman ended in 2022. The former couple had two adopted children, Haley Joy and Hope Catherine, whom they co-parented.
Savannah Clark Guthrie was born on 27 December 1971, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to American parents Charles and Nancy Guthrie. Her father was at that time stationed in Melbourne, then her family moved back to Tucson, Arizona when she was two years old. Her father passed away when she was 16, and her stay-at-home mom had to work hard to support her and her siblings. She saw how her mother struggled, so it pushed her to do well in school. In 1993, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arizona with cum laude honors.
For several years, she worked as a broadcast journalist, then resigned so she could resume studying. Savannah went on to earn a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center with magna cum laude honors in 2002. It didn’t surprise her loved ones when she topped the Arizona Bar Exam afterwards, and then worked as a litigation associate at the Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld Law Firm. However, she went back to her first love in 2004, and became a correspondent for CourtTV, and covered high-profile cases including that of Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart. By 2007, she was hired by the NBC network as a news anchor, and in 2011, replaced former hosts Ann Curry and Meredith Viera.
In the middle of a successful career, she fell in love with the BBC News reporter Mark Orchard, and they married in December 2005, but it didn’t last long as the couple was granted a divorce in 2009. In that same year, Savannah dated Michael Feldman, a Democratic communications consultant, and by 201, they were engaged. In March 2014 the couple was married in Arizona, and had two children, Vale and Charles Max.
“Today” ratings increased amidst the feud controversy
The old marketing strategy that ‘any kind of publicity is still publicity and that there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ worked pretty well for “Today.” While the two co-anchors suffered a bashing on social media, their show benefited from it; apparently, more viewers tuned in during the peak of the alleged feud. Fans were looking for signs and analyzing each statement so see if they were indeed fighting in private. It was reported that there was a boost in its TV ratings, and even if its rival show was slightly ahead of them in the total number of viewers, it helped lessen the gap.
The friendship of Hoda and Savannah survived the onslaught of malicious stories for what the two suspected was made just for clickbait. In 2022, their morning show celebrated its presence on TV for 70 years, and both of them shared that they realized the importance of being together side by side as female TV presenters in a show as big as “Today.” However, it wouldn’t be successful if they didn’t have great chemistry.
Savannah said, ‘There’s just a connection and camaraderie and comfort.’ When Hoda was struggling with parenting issues, she revealed that it was Savannah who taught her how to be a better listener. They both said that being mothers helped them a great deal in understanding each other, as they shared the same priorities in life, and appreciated the partnership that they’d cultivated over the years.