In just one week, two of the nation’s top morning shows lost some of their biggest names: CBS News’ Charlie Rose, and on Wednesday, NBC News’ Matt Lauer.
As the networks grapple with the sexual misconduct allegations lodged against their stars, a major lingering question remains: Who will take their place?
With the departures coming during the holiday season, we may not see a permanent replacement announced for either network until after the new year.
In both Rose and Lauer’s cases, their female co-hosts were left to break the news to their viewers — Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King on “CBS This Morning”, and Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “Today” show. The image of two female anchors breaking serious news about sexual misconduct that has hit their own workplaces prompted some to ask, is it time for a morning show to be anchored solely by women?
“The scramble on the ‘Today’ show this morning, by the way, is a reminder–as NBC looks to replace Lauer — that you can just have two women host a morning show and the world doesn’t end,” New York Times television critic James Poniewozik tweeted on Wednesday.
But so far, those being floated to replace the male anchors who were fired are also men.
On CBS, correspondent Vladimir Duthiers has been the main fill-in for the past week, and a New York Post report published on Monday said the 47-year-old is the front-runner for the spot. A CBS insider said though Duthiers is seen internally as the person favored to replace Rose, another possibility is Anthony Mason, who was the temporary anchor of “CBS Evening News” until Jeff Glor was announced as Scott Pelley’s replacementlast month. Bianna Golodryga is filling in for Rose the week of December 4, and “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson will fill in for him the week of December 11.
A CBS spokesperson declined to comment.
Over at NBC, Lauer leaves an even bigger hole where, for two decades, he was the face of what is arguably the network’s most important news show. Lauer himself had survived several dramatic anchor changes over the years.
Two names immediately began floating among network insiders to take Lauer’s spot: Craig Melvin and Willie Geist. Melvin is a “Today” show weekend co-anchor and regular fill-in, and also anchors the 1 p.m. hour on MSNBC. Geist is an anchor of Sunday’s “Today” show and a co-anchor on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
On Wednesday, Geist commended the person who brought the allegations to NBC management, saying on MSNBC, “Matt Lauer is the most powerful person at NBC News… and so it took some real courage for this person to come out.”
Other names floated to fill Lauer’s post include “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, though his appointment would leave another gaping hole for the network in the evenings.
An NBC spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.