“Today” show fixture Savannah Guthrie reportedly cut her maternity leave short after executives at NBC asked her to come back early. The New York Post’s Page Six reports that it was all about ratings, with the execs “in a panic” as they watched the numbers fall.
Guthrie reportedly went back to work four days ahead of schedule.
The report quotes an industy insider saying: “The show was in a free fall. She initially announced that she’d be returning on March 3, but they were in a panic . . . and called her back early.”
The report notes that Guthrie surprised Matt Lauer on-air when she returned last week. The network had tried out Lester Holt and Bryant Gumbel in fill-in co-hosting spots.
“Their bro-show didn’t work,” the source says. “They needed Savannah to bail them out, so they rushed her from maternity leave. NBC claimed it was because of the influx of news, but the reality is that the show was down double-digits and they needed her.”
While the Oscars gave ABC rival “Good Morning America” a boost last week, a rep for “Today” noted that the NBC show has been doing well in the key 25-54 demo. The rep said “Today” has been “No. 1 in the key demo for 20 straight months, its best winning streak in more than four years, and its advantages over ‘GMA’ have reached five-year highs.”