NBC is considering Katie Couric as a potential replacement for Savannah Guthrie while she goes on maternity leave this summer, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.
While there were “no formal negotiations of any sort,” the individual said, “the reality is that it is primarily internal discussions, and it’s unclear whether Katie will want to do this and be available to guest co-host and whether she would be in NBC’s plans.”
“This is just natural speculation because of Katie’s strong relationship with the folks at Today — including Matt, Al,” the insider told TheWrap.
Couric left ABC News late last year for new home Yahoo, where she serves as Global Anchor. Despite that move, Couric maintained her daytime syndicated show “Katie” — but the talker was canceled in December. “Katie” will run through June.
The beloved former “Today” host would be contractually free to rejoin the show in the fall, should early speculation pan out the way that many fans probably hope it will.
A Couric return could be exactly what the ratings doctor ordered for “Today.” The NBC show was historically top dog in the morning, but has been steadily beaten by ABC’s “Good Morning America” since June 25, 2012. (The only four weeks that “GMA” fell short on the Nielsen sheets were when NBC had the 2012 Summer Games and the 2014 Winter Games.)
“With the ‘Today’ show in a good place, we are blessed with great talent and many options to temporarily fill Savannah’s chair while she’s on leave,” an NBC spokesperson told TheWrap. “But there’s no plan yet — stay tuned.”
Former “Today” co-host Meredith Vieira has also been named in media reports as one of those potential seat-fillers.
Sources told the New York Post that Couric and Guthrie have reportedly grown close recently and the “two have had lunch in the past eight weeks.”