Star Entertainment News
Savannah Guthrie has reportedly left some of the staff at the "Today" show "puzzled" over a recent move that many inside NBC see as a "power grab."
Last month, longtime "Today" show executive producer Don Nash stepped down from his position and was replaced by senior producer Libby Leist. It was a move that "shocked" insiders, who believe it was Guthrie who maneuvered the switch.
"Libby is Savannah's best friend, and Savannah pushed Don out to put Libby there," a source told Page Six. "It is a power grab by Savannah to make sure she gets the best assignments and has someone at the top looking out for her."
Nash was considered to be a close friend to Matt Lauer, who was ousted from "Today" back in November after reports surfaced of "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace." He has since been permanently replaced by Hoda Kotb.
"This isn't an issue with [Kotb] -- who is just happy to be there -- but it is an issue with some of the staff, who had hoped, with the ousting of Lauer, that the era of anchors with outsized power calling the shots was over," the insider continued.
Though there were conflicting reports about Lauer's behavior during 20-plus years at the "Today" show, many insiders revealed that he used his power to manipulate what happened behind-the-scenes at the morning show, going so far as to engage in inappropriate affairs with female staffers.
Of Guthrie's alleged "power grab," some insiders expected Leist's new position to go to co-executive producer Tom Mazzarelli, but "Libby and Savannah are very close [...] and old D.C. allies."
Other sources contend that questioning her viability for the lofty position is simply sexist.
"Libby is an incredibly accomplished and talented producer," the source told Page Six. "For anyone to suggest that NBC would entrust her with the reins of its morning show that brings in over half a billion dollars a year because she’s ‘besties’ with the anchor makes zero sense and smacks of sexism."
Libby Leist is the first woman to lead the first two hours of the "Today" show, while Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb represent the morning show's first all-female co-anchor duo.