If ‘Today Show’ Fires Natalie Morales & Tamron Hall, It Would Be a Huge Blow for Diversity

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: TV personality Carson Daly, Natalie Morales, Matt Lauer interview Olympic Athlete Sara Hughes and Olympic Athlete Louie Vito during 100 Days Out Sochi Winter Olympics Event at NBC's TODAY Show on October 29, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Admittedly, I'm not a morning show kind of gal. However, the Today Show is one of the greats, which is why I find it so disappointing that there's a rumor that Natalie Morales and Willie Geist were fired from Today. In what is described as a "shake up," and in order to beat Good Morning America's ratings, the two co-anchors were told that they were fired and are now looking into jobs at ABC and CBS respectively. However, NBC has already denied these rumors, so I guess we'll find out when we actually watch Today and see if those two chairs are filled by brand new people. That said, they shouldn't be, and the reasons why go a little beyond simply enjoying the antics of Morales or Geist. 

According to the US Weekly report on the scandal, in addition to the above changes, an insider has also revealed that there are talks of "demoting fellow co-host Tamron Hall back to MSNBC and adding Good Morning America alum Josh Elliott as a newsreader. Hoda Kotb, who currently owns the 10 a.m. hour with Kathie Lee Gifford, might also be asked to join the 9 a.m. hour." 

Although Kotb, Guthrie, and Gifford are supremely talented and more than capable of pulling the weight, this shuffle sounds like a terrible idea because diversity on television in general, let alone on morning shows and talk shows, still needs to get better, not worse, and the loss of Morales wouldn't help anything.

NBC denied the story in a statement to US Weekly. "NBC's Today has the best anchor team in morning television. The entire Today Show anchor team — Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Carson Daly, Tamron Hall, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Hoda Kotb — are incredibly talented, valued and have our support. In response to the false rumors that have been circulated about our anchor team, NBC wants to be absolutely clear: The rumors are wrong — period. This is the team we are committed to. And this is the team that our viewers turn to in the morning." So if that's true, then why is this rumor so prevalent?

Apparently, these proposed plans were the goal of recently fired general manager Jamie Horowitz, a situation that was described by the Us insider as "an executive went rogue and got fired for suggesting crazy ideas no one agreed with." In light of that, it seems unlikely that Morales and Geist — let alone Hall — have really been fired or are really likely to be fired. And I, for one, really hope that they don't because the Today Show staff is currently almost even, gender-wise, with four women to five men. (Not to mention that between Morales, Hall, Kotb, and Roker, they have more anchors of color than rival show Good Morning America, which has Robin Roberts and the recently hired Michael Strahan.) In light of NBC's denial statement, it seems that the truth to the rumor is that Horowitz proposed these changes and pushed them to the point of being fired for it, because the network realized that these changes were unwanted and unnecessary. 

It's an immense relief to know that it looks like Morales and Geist's jobs are safe for now. But if NBC does eventually decide to "shake up" the staff, then it's my sincere hope that they'll at least replace any fired anchors with more women and/or anchors of color. The current combination of anchors might be a winning formula, but giving more representation to perspectives other than that of white males down the line can only help a news show in the long run. For now, however, I'm just satisfied to know that Morales and Hall aren't going anywhere anytime soon. 

Image: Getty Images

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