Willie Geist is gushing over Hoda Kotb in the wake of her promotion to co-anchor of the Today show. He talked to Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday about NBC's latest shakeup, which put Kotb in the anchor seat next to Savannah Guthrie.
"They’re both my honest-to-goodness friends. I’m so happy for Hoda,” Geist told ET at the National Board of Review Awards, which he hosted. “They’re kickin’ butt. They won the week again last week. I think they’ve won every week since they’ve started. You can’t not be happy for Hoda. She’s such a genuine, loving, feeling, energetic person. She deserves it, and it’s good for everybody.”
While many wondered if Geist would be a top contender for disgraced Matt Lauer's job, he seems happy for Kotb and happy where he is with the broadcasting company.
"I do my Sunday Today show. I do Morning Joe, which I love, during the week, so I get into the politics of it all,” he said. “And I’m there all week this week with the gang, so I’m not too far.”
As for his former co-worker, Geist says Lauer is as "good as he can be" after his swift firing from NBC for "inappropriate sexual behavior."
“He’s good. As good as he can be. He’s sort of reconnecting with his family and figuring everything out,” the 42-year-old said from the red carpet of the National Board of Review Awards, which he hosted.
He also revealed that the two exchanged text messages around Dec. 30, Lauer's 60th birthday.
“I've texted with him just on a personal level,” he said. “It was his birthday the other day, his 60th birthday.”
Kotb, too, says she's texted with Lauer lately.
"I did hear from him, yeah, he texted me and he said congratulations and some really nice words, and it meant the world when I saw the text pop up," Kotb said following her promotion to co-anchor of the Today show aside Savannah Guthrie. "My heart just went like, you know, it meant the world to see that."
“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer said in the statement. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”
“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” he added. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.”
“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace,” Lauer continued.