NBC didn’t allow the abrupt firing of Today anchor Matt Lauer to dampen its holiday spirit: Lauer’s name was not mentioned at all during the network’s annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center tree-lighting special Wednesday, despite the fact that Lauer was originally scheduled to co-host the event.
Today‘s Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Hoda Kotb oversaw the special just hours after they’d announced to Today viewers that Lauer had been terminated from his position at the morning talk show after allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Later on Wednesday, NBC confirmed that Lauer would not be part of the tree lighting; this was before reports of Lauer’s alleged sexual harassment of NBC staffers, including him exposing his genitals, surfaced later in the day.
About halfway through the hour, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt joined Kotb, Guthrie and Roker for what he said was his first appearance on the special. He also joined them on stage at the end of the hour for the tree lighting.
In addition to the 85th unveiling of the giant evergreen, the hour-long event also featured performances and appearances by Leslie Odom Jr. (Smash), Gwen Stefani (The Voice), Pentatonix, Harry Connick Jr. and Auli’i Cravalho (Rise).