Willie Geist responds to rumors he could replace Matt Lauer on 'Today'

Willie Geist finally responded to the rumors that he's a frontrunner to fill Matt Lauer's seat on the "Today" show.

In an interview with 201 Magazine and Northjersey.com, the "Morning Joe" personality said that everyone at NBC is "still a little bit shocked" by Lauer's firing at the end of November following a complaint of "inappropriate sexual behavior."

SEE ALSO: Will Matt Lauer's wife Annette Roque seek a divorce? Latest move seems to hint at her intentions

"I think it was a shock to everybody," Geist said. "I don’t know how you couldn’t be surprised. I started filling tin for Matt in 2010. I wasn’t close to him outside of work, but I considered him a friend and mentor. Certainly he was somebody I looked up to. He was the guy who was considered the best at that job, at hosting a morning show. So, yeah, I think we were all surprised and I think we’re all still a little bit shocked by it."

Since Lauer's termination, speculation has continued to mount as to who will permanently fill Lauer's seat at the top of the show. Hoda Kotb has been filling in for Lauer alongside Savannah Guthrie throughout December, but nobody has been announced as his permanent replacement.

See photos of Willie Geist:

47 PHOTOS
Willie Geist through the years
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Willie Geist through the years
Willie Geist arrives at the 2009 Miss USA Pageant at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on April 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04: Host of MSNBC's 'Way too Early with Willie Geist,' Willie Geist and his daughter Lucy attends the 3rd Annual New York Times Great Children's Read at Columbia University on October 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
MORNING JOE -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough -- Broadcastng from New Orleans' John McDonogh High School, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist encourage viewers with a community involvement call-to-action (Photo by Cheryl Gerber/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 9: Willie Geist attends Launch Party Celebrating the Publication of SIR HAROLD EVANS' Memoir MY PAPER CHASE at 3 Times Square on November 9, 2009 in New York. (Photo by JACKIE SNOW/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: Willie Geist and Hoda Kotb attend 56th Annual 'SPIRIT OF ACHIEVEMENT' Luncheon hosted by the NATIONAL WOMEN'S DIVISION of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University at The Pierre on April 27, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by BEN GABBE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Willie Geist attends The Pink Agenda's Annual Spring Gala at The Box on May 20, 2010 in New York City.
TODAY -- Pictured: Willie Geist appears on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 11: Hoda Kotb and Willie Geist attend HODA KOTB Celebrates 'Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee' at Deutsch Residence on October 11, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by CLINT SPAULDING/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Cheryl Hines and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Willie Geist appears on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Willie Geist and Faith Hill appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MORNING JOE -- February 11, 2011 -- Pictured: (l-r) Oprah Winfrey, Willie Geist, Tom Brokaw -- MORNING JOE's live broadcast from the Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago (Photo by Stacie Freudenberg/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE - - 'Guest: Caroline Manzo and Willie Geist' -- Pictured: Willie Geist -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Episode 718 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tiffani Thiessen, Willie Geist -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist and Savannah Guthrie appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Curtis Jackson also known as '50 Cent', Savannah Guthrie, Willie Geist and Natalie Morales appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 03: Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford, Natalie Morales, and Willie Geist attend the Hoda Kotb And Kathie Lee Gifford AARP Magazine Cover Celebration at Le Bernardin on June 3, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Willie Geist appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist, Natalie Morales and Laila Ali appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Willie Geist and Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Brooke Shields and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Willie Geist appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Brooke Shields and Willie Geist appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) NBC News' Willie Geist and actress Marilu Henner appear on NBC News' 'Today' show on January 21, 2014 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Willie Geist appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: (L-R) TV Personality Willie Geist and President and Chief Operating Officer at Time Warner Cable Rob Marcus attends the 2014 UJA-Federation of New York's Leadership Awards Dinner at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on April 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Co-anchor Willie Geist attends NBC's 'Today' at TODAY Plaza on May 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Willie Geist is an American television personality. He is the co-anchor of MSNBCs Morning Joe, and co-anchor of NBC's Today's Take the third hour of The Today Show. May 15, 2014. (Photo by Sebastiano Tomada/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 27: News anchor Willie Geist attends the 92nd Street Y Presents Bill Geist & Willie Geist In Conversation With Mike Barnicle at 92nd Street Y on May 27, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Moderator Chuck Todd, left, and Willie Geist, 'Today Show' co-host, right, appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Tamron Hall and Willie Geist attends NBC's 'Today' Halloween Boo-Nanza at TODAY Plaza on October 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Actress/model/author Brooke Shields and journalist Willie Geist pose for a photo at the book signing event 'Brooke Shields In Conversation With Willie Geist: 'There Was A Little Girl' at Barnes and Noble Union Square on November 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Willie Geist attends Alzheimer's Association 32nd Annual Rita Hayworth Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: TV personality Willie Geist and advertising executive/TV personality Donny Deutsch attend the USA Network hosts the premiere of 'Donny!' at The Rainbow Room on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Willie Geist, Al Roker and Rachel Dratch appear on the 'Today' show on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 -- (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 482 -- Pictured: (l-r) Journalist Willie Geist during an interview with host Seth Meyers on February 1, 2017 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Willie Geist attends the 2017 Time 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: Willie Geist, host of NBC News' 'Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist' visits the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square to ring the Opening Bell in celebration of TODAY's 65th anniversary and the successful launch of 'Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist' at NASDAQ MarketSite on January 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: (L-R) Co-Founder and CEO of Team Rubicon Jake Wood and Willie Geist attend the 2017 New York City Salute to Service Awards at Metropolitan Pavilion on April 26, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Team Rubicon USA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: (L-R) Actress Kira Reed Lorsch and TV Personality and Operation Mend Supporter, Willie Geist attend the UCLA Operation Mend 10 Year Anniversary at the Home of Founder Ron Katz Sponsored by The Thalians Entertainment by The Operation Mend All Star Band with Special Guest Billy Idol on September 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Willie Geist photographs Rachel Platten as she perfoms on the TODAY Show's Concert series at Rockefeller Plaza on October 27, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: TV Personality Willie Geist attends the 11th Annual IAVA Heroes Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on November 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: Willie Geist attends Children's Cancer & Blood Foundation Annual Breakthrough Ball at The Plaza Hotel on November 27, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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Geist's name has been one of the names thrown around the most in those conversations, and he's aware of that buzz.

"Honestly, I hear that and I read about it, and I haven’t had a word of conversation with anybody [at NBC] about it," he confessed. "So I don’t know. I just think that’s a fun parlor game."

In addition to claiming that he hasn't been part of any of those conversations, the "Sunday Today With Willie Geist" host also reiterated that he's perfectly happy in his dual role at the network right now. 

"I'll just be totally honest with you: I love 'Morning Joe,'" Geist said. "I’m on the show that is the place to go in the morning for the hottest story in the world, which is Donald Trump. And I have a show on Sunday -- a 'Today' show with my name on it -- where I get to write it and help control the content and interview people I find incredibly interesting. I really genuinely love these two jobs."

So, it's still unclear whether or not Geist will be offered the job and the speculation is surely not going to die down any time soon. Other names that have been floating around are Megyn Kelly and "Weekend Today" host Craig Melvin.

With Kotb at the helm since Lauer's exit, though, the "Today" show has experienced its best ratings in months and has regained its spot as the No. 1 morning show in America, which has many wondering whether NBC could just offer the full-time role to Kotb.

24 PHOTOS
Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford together
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Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford together
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Thursday, October 12, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Billie Jean King on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Dylan Dreyer, Jenna Bush Hager, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Al Roker on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday, September 5, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Kathie Lee Gifford, Lionel Richie and Hoda Kotb on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Thursday, Aug.10, 2017 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: Hoda Kotb (L) and Kathie Lee Gifford (R) are seen on July 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by VMAL/Star Max/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: (L-R) TV personalities Sheinelle Jones, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the 'DUNKIRK' New York premiere at AMC Lincoln Square IMAX on July 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday, June 23, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Hoda Kotb (L) and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For CMT)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: (L-R) Hoda Kotb,Jason Derulo, Luke Bryan and Kathie Lee Gifford backstage during the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday, June 5, 2017 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the 2017 Matrix Awards at Sheraton New York Times Square on April 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb And Kathie Lee Gifford on the Today Show. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford appear to celebrate the BELLA New York Holiday Issue Cover Party and Holiday Shopping Event on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NBCUNIVERSAL UPFRONT -- '2016 NBCUniversal Upfront in New York City on Monday, May 16, 2016' -- Pictured: (l-r) Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, 'The Today Show' on NBC -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: (L) Kathie Lee Gifford dressed as her former co-host Regis Philbin, and Hoda Kotb, dressed as Kathie Lee Gifford from the morning talk show, 'Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee,' during NBC's 'Today' Halloween at Rockefeller Plaza on October 31, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: TV personalities Hoda Kotb (L) and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the Variety's Power Of Women: New York 2016 at Cipriani Midtown on April 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Kathie Lee Gifford, Jennifer Lopez, and Hoda Kotb appear on the 'Today' show on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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