After months of buzz as to who would be replacing shamed anchor Matt Lauer as Today's co-host, NBC finally announced on Tuesday that Hoda Kotb landed the lucrative position — and while most are happy with Kotb taking over the hot seat, two individuals at the network are seething over it, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.
Willie Geist and Craig Melvin, who were both rumored to be runner-ups for the gig until NBC's announcement on Jan. 2, 2018, are both "devastated" over the networks decision to hire Hoda, a production insider reveals.
As readers know, Lauer, 60, was shown the door on Nov. 29 after allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior surfaced against the longtime Today veteran.
Since his termination, speculation continued to mount as to who would permanently fill Lauer's seat at the top of the show.
Kotb, 53, had been filling in for Lauer alongside Savannah Guthrie, 46, throughout December, but nobody was announced as his permanent replacement.
Now, on the heels of Kotb's hiring, Geist and Melvin are said to be beside themselves. "Both guys thought they had it in the bag," the informant dished to Radar exclusively.
Melvin, who currently anchors MSNBC Live on weekdays, and is co-anchor of Today Saturday edition, was so confident that he had the gig he even bought a new wardrobe for the coveted on-camera job! “Willie is super smooth and overly confident. He saw himself as the air apparent and was so sure that he had the job that he had ordered new suits and ties," says the snitch.
"Willie is TV royalist and is not used to being told no. The news of Hoda has devastated him."
Melvin, who is 38 and has two children with wife ESPN sports anchor Lindsay Czarniak, knows the next time that anchor chair will become available will be too late for him, says the source.
"NBC has been a boys club for so long that it never occurred to Willie that a woman might replace Matt. He never considered that the show could have no man in the anchor chair.”
Meanwhile, Willie Geist feels blindsided by the Peacock network as sources reveal the Morning Joe personality thought his spot as the Today co-host was so secure he even measured Lauer's office for new drapes!
"He is in 30 Rock today moping around. He looks devastated off camera. Craig assumed that the show needed more diversity and have already measured Matt’s office for new drapes.”
“Craig is a good guy but like everyone on TV he has a big ego," says the insider of Geist, who had been hosting weekend Today. "He thought he had been given signals from the bosses that the job was his."
As Radar previously reported, Kotb will join be joining Lauer’s ex-sidekick, Guthrie, on the popular morning program’s earlier timeslot, but she will also remain on the 10 o’clock hour of Today, opposite Kathie Lee Gifford.
“When you click with someone, man, woman, it doesn’t matter. If it works, it works,” Kotb said of Guthrie in a new interview in PEOPLE. “We’re sort of like sisters, and everybody wants a sister.”
While Guthrie appreciates Kotb, she revealed in the interview that she also hopes to remain close to Lauer, who is desperately trying to repair his image after the shocking sexual harassment scandal.
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