After taking over hosting duties on “Today” following Matt Lauer’s ouster, Hoda Kotb has officially been named the new co-anchor of the popular NBC morning show.

“This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made,” “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie said on air Tuesday. “Hoda, you are a partner and a friend and a sister, and I’m so happy to be doing this.”

NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced the news, which means that, for the first time, “Today” is led by female hosts. “I’m pinching myself,” Kotb said to Guthrie on air. “There’s no one I’d rather be sitting next to in 2018 than you.”

Kotb took over the co-anchoring duties on Nov. 29, hours after Lack had dismissed Lauer. “Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running,” Lack wrote in his Tuesday memo, CNN reported. “They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of ‘Today.’ ”

Kotb’s journalistic credentials run deep. She started out as a broadcast journalist in New Orleans and Fort Myers, and joined NBC News in 1998 as a “Dateline” correspondent. 

Since 2008, Kotb has hosted the 10 a.m. hour of “Today” alongside Kathie Lee Gifford, which she’ll continue to do.

With news of Kotb’s promotion comes questions about gender pay parity: Will she be compensated similarly as Lauer, who reportedly had a four-year, $20 million contract?

These are incredibly profitable hours for TV networks, and there’s a lot of pressure to present a dynamic hosting team with plenty of on-air chemistry. “Today,” in particular, attempts to project the image that its on-air personalities are essentially a family.

“Today” won’t be the first morning show with female co-anchors; Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts co-hosted “Good Morning America” from 2006 to 2009. George Stephanopoulos replaced Sawyer when she retired.

“CBS This Morning” still hasn’t named a permanent replacement for Charlie Rose, who was fired in November over allegations of sexual misconduct detailed in a Washington Post report. (Rose apologized for “inappropriate behavior” but said that not “all of these allegations are accurate.”) Other CBS News staffers have filled in, joining hosts Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell.

But, by and large, men have been dominant presences on morning shows, even as their audiences are dominated by women. Perhaps as the conversation about sexism and representation continues to build steam, more and more women will see themselves reflected on their TV screens.

 January 2 at 3:21 PM