Source: 'Today' Staff Feels 'Energized' After Matt Lauer

The Today Show behind-the-scenes team is excited to have Hoda Kotb as the full-time replacement for Matt Lauer. A source claims they are "energized" by the decision.

On Tuesday, NBC News officially removed the "interim" label from Kotb's title. Kotb will still host the 10 a.m. hour with Kathie Lee Gifford.

A source told Entertainment Tonight that the Today crew is "energized" after the move. They enjoy working with her more than they did with Lauer.

"The staff knew they had no choice but to respect Matt. He was at the top. He was intimidating," the source told ET. "People aren't intimidated by Hoda. She is very well liked. Her personality is the opposite of Matt's. She's warm. Matt would say good morning and hello to people in passing, but most read it as cold. Hoda will give anyone the time of day."

The crew is "genuinely happy" for Kotb, who has been at NBC News since 1998.

"She's the real deal. Who she is on television is exactly who she is off television," the source said.

Kotb is also good friends with co-anchor Savannah Guthrie off camera. The source described their relationship as "very similar" to Guthrie's relationship with Lauer.

Since Kotb took over for Lauer, Today's ratings have only continued to grow. Lauer was fired in November for sexual misconduct, but is reportedly still contacting show producers to give notes.

Kotb said she got a text from Lauer, who congratulated her on the promotion.

"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 told Entertainment Tonight. "My heart just went like, you know, it meant the world to see that."


Photo credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC