NEW YORK (AP) – NBC News opened the new year by appointing Hoda Kotb as co-anchor of the “Today” show’s first two hours with Savannah Guthrie, replacing Matt Lauer following his firing on sexual misconduct charges in late November.

Kotb will continue to co-host the show’s fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford.

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She has subbed for Lauer beginning on the day he was fired. Despite the turmoil, “Today” won four straight weeks in the ratings over ABC’s “Good Morning America,” after it has spent much of the past few years in second place.

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Her appointment bucks the trend of morning news shows to have male and female co-hosts. But with sexual misconduct charges are a regular occurrence, the timing could be right for NBC.

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