After more than a week of being absent, Hoda Kotb made a brief pretaped appearance on Friday’s episode of the Today Show. In the segment, Kotb interviewed John Easterling and Chloe Lattanzi – husband and daughter of the late singer Olivia Newton-John.
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For longer than a week, the 58-year-old newswoman has conspicuously been missing from live broadcasts of NBC’s morning show. Kotb’s fellow co-anchors revealed earlier this week that while she is in good spirits, there has been an unspoken family health issue with which she must attend. However, they reassured viewers that Kotb will be back on air soon, according to Entertainment Tonight.
This past Friday, Sheinelle Jones opened her segment by introducing Kotb’s moving discussion with Olivia Newton-John’s family. The beloved actress and singer passed away in August of 2022 after a long struggle against breast cancer – an illness that Hoda Kotb battled herself. Through her conversation with Lattanzi and Easterling, the presenter explored how Newton-John left behind a “beautiful legacy” for all to remember.
Hoda Kotb hasn’t been on ‘Today’ live since February 17th
Kicking off Friday’s episode was Jones and co-host Craig Melvin, revealing that Kotb and her counterpart Savannah Guthrie were both absent. Earlier in the week, it had been reported that Guthrie stayed home after testing positive for COVID-19 during a live broadcast.
“It has been an interesting morning for us,” Jones explained on Tuesday’s episode. “As we said, Savannah left early, she wasn’t feeling great, so she took a COVID test. It came back positive.”
On Wednesday, Melvin delved further into the hosts’ absences. “We know a lot of you have been wondering how she’s doing,’ he said. “We can tell you that Hoda’s okay. She’s got a family health matter that she’s been dealing with, so we look forward to seeing Hoda and Savannah back at the desk real, real soon.”
Fellow Today co-host Jenna Bush Hager also weighed in on the missing hosts. She told viewers that Kotb will “be back, right here, very, very soon.” She also expressed her hopes for a speedy return. “We adore her, we’re sending our love to her,” Bush Hager said. “We love you both,” Today weatherman also Al Roker added.
Last Tuesday morning, Kotb was seen for the first time since her on-air hiatus; she was bundled up in NYC while escorting her 6-year-old daughter Haley off to school. On Feb. 17, Kotb made her final live appearance on the Today show, and then three days later, on Presidents’ Day, she featured in a pre-recorded segment of the show’s fourth hour with Jenna Bush Hager.
Since her break from the Today show, Kotb has been regularly inspiring followers on Instagram with uplifting messages and imagery. On Monday, she posted a powerful sentiment to remind us all of the importance of hope in difficult times. The message: “Choose Hope”.