Hoda Kotb was flown to London over the weekend to take part in Today's Olympics coverage. But according to the New York Daily News, Kotb was sent to bolster ratings after newly instated anchor Savannah Guthrie failed to connect with audiences.
Today has seen its ratings increase as much as 30 percent during Olympics coverage in years past, but the show's pre-Olympics broadcast last Thursday lost to ABC's Good Morning America by nearly 400,000 viewers. The Daily News quoted a source that claimed that NBC was "shoehorning [Kotb] into the show to help bring it alive. ... They called Hoda on Thursday begging her to go to London because they said it wasn't working like they thought."
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But NBC says the report is 100 percent untrue. "It is well-known that Hoda was traveling to London to participate in the Today show's Olympic coverage because we announced it on our show three weeks ago," a rep for the show told TVGuide.com. "She planned to spend a few days in London covering fun Olympic stories, and she talked about it on the show several times."
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Additionally, NBC began publicizing a Facebook campaign on July 9 asking viewers for suggestions as to the types of stories Kotb should do while across the pond. Kotb mentioned the campaign on Twitter Friday before she flew to London. "Packing my bags and heading to london this weekend -- thx for all of the story suggestions. you know i will do them!" she tweeted.
Kotb, who co-anchors the fourth hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford, was reportedly up for Ann Curry's job when NBC abruptly ended her run in the anchor's chair last month.