Today co-anchor Matt Lauer’s abrupt firing by NBC on Wednesday suddenly puts an awkward spotlight on the network’s live Christmas in Rockefeller Center special tonight (8/7c). As per tradition, Lauer was slated to co-host the annual tree lighting ceremony alongside Today colleagues Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker.
An NBC rep declined to comment, but an insider tells TVLine that Lauer (naturally) will no longer take part in the festivities. What’s more, his now-vacant fourth slot will not be filled, meaning Guthrie, Kotb and Roker will co-host the event as a trio.
Guthrie announced at the top of Wednesday’s Today telecast that Lauer had been terminated for sexual misconduct. “We are devastated and we are still processing this,” a visibly shaken Guthrie told viewers. “We do not know more than what I just shared with you, but we will be covering this story as reporters, as journalists. I’m sure we will be learning more details in the hours and days to come, and we promise we will share that with you.”
NBC News chairman Andrew Lack informed employees in a memo that Lauer was dismissed after the network “received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace… It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards.”