Who will replace Matt Lauer? Megyn Kelly, Ann Curry top names already floating

As the story behind Matt Lauer's unexpected exit from "Today" unfolds, speculation is already beginning about who will take his slot.

As of early Wednesday, viewers seem to think the most possible option is Megyn Kelly -- although not all are thrilled about it. The show's newest addition infamously struggled to find her footing in the first few weeks of her time slot, but she's gotten into a groove in recent weeks and has been widely praised for her coverage of the onslaught of sexual harassment cases spilling out of Hollywood.

Many viewers are hoping to see the return of ousted "Today" co-host Ann Curry, and while it seems quite unlikely at this point, it's possible that NBC execs would see it as a statement against Lauer and his actions.

Perhaps the most likely options right now are "Today" weekend co-host Craig Melvin and "Sunday Today" host Willie Geist, both of whom are familiar faces to viewers but lack the baggage of Kelly and Curry.

Here's a running list of all the possible contenders for Matt Lauer's spot:

Who will replace Matt Lauer?
See Gallery
Who will replace Matt Lauer?
Ann Curry -- Viewers were shocked and stunned when Curry was tearfully released from "Today" on air in 2012. According to reports, she had a strained relationship with Lauer, who wanted her dismissed. CEO Steve Burke allegedly told Lauer ahead of the firing, “We need to sign you so we can do Ann," and top execs reportedly celebrated with a toast after she was fired. Although it seems unlikely that the network would potentially rehash old wounds by bringing her back, it could be a popular choice with viewers, many of whom have already taken to Twitter to campaign for her resinstatement.
Megyn Kelly -- When it was first announced that she would leave Fox News for NBC, there were multiple reports of a power struggle to determine her time slot. She's now situated two hours after Lauer's 7 AM spot, but amid all the turmoil, it's possible that she'll manage to snag that top seat.
Craig Melvin -- "Today" weekend co-host Craig Melvin certainly stands a strong stance of the big promotion to Lauer's top slot. He's already a familiar face among viewers, but he lacks the negative baggage of Ann Curry or Megyn Kelly.
Willie Geist -- The "Sunday Today" host has filled in for Lauer on multiple occasions. He's seen all across the network's programming, from MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to NBC News and NBC Sports.
Anderson Cooper -- After the drama with Ann Curry unfolded, leading many viewers to express a distaste for Lauer, rumors floated in 2013 that Anderson Cooper had been approached by NBC about replacing him. However, NBC News exec Alex Wallace at the time dismissed the claim, saying, "We want [Lauer] in the ‘Today’ show anchor chair for many years to come."
Keith Olbermann -- He spent 20 years as a sports reporter before moving into political journalism at MSNBC. Just days ago, he announced he would be ending his GQ web show "The Resistance," explaining that he wanted to retire from political commentary: "No illness. No scandal. No firing. Just I've said what I've had to say," he said. However, he didn't say he wanted to actually retire, leaving open the possibility of returning via a different type of program.
Tamron Hall -- This one's pretty unlikely. Hall decided herself to leave the show, much to the disappointment of many viewers and Hall's own colleagues. She reportedly felt burned by treatment of NBC execs, who booted her from her 9 AM time slot in favor of Megyn Kelly. She could return if there's no bad blood, but there almost certainly is.
Carson Daly -- He's already on the NBC payroll as the host of "The Voice," and some took to Twitter on Wednesday to campaign for him to slide into Lauer's seat.


Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.