Katie Couric in Talks to Rejoin Matt Lauer on 'Today'

Monday, 05 May 2014 03:49 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Katie Couric may be returning to her old digs at NBC's "Today" show while co-host Savannah Guthrie is away later this year on maternity leave.

Couric, 57, is only in preliminary talks for a temporary position, reports the New York Post, but if she proves popular like she was in the older days, sources said the gig could turn into a longer job.

Ironically, Couric got her start on "Today" because of another co-anchor's maternity leave. In 1991, she took then co-host Deborah Norville's seat when she left for maternity leave, and got the job full time when Norville didn't come back to work. Couric finally left "Today" in 2006, when she left to briefly anchor the "CBS Evening News."

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Guthrie, at 42, is in her fifth month of pregnancy and expects to be away from the co-anchor seat for a few months, starting in late summer.

Couric isn't quite a shoe-in for the temporary spot. NBC is also talking to other potential substitute co-hosts, including Couric's successor Meredith Viera, who was on "Today" until 2011 and was highly popular with viewers.

"With the 'Today' show in a good place, we are blessed with great talent and many options to temporarily fill Savannah’s chair while she’s on leave, but there’s no plan yet," NBC said in a statement. "Stay tuned."

The talks between Couric and NBC aren't official negotiations, said sources, but instead are friendly talks. The veteran newswoman has a job with Yahoo as its global anchor, where she has done online interviews with people like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Although Yahoo is in partnership with ABC News, her interviews aren't under that contract, so a "Today" deal with Couric could also involve her work with the online network.

Meanwhile, Couric's syndicated daytime talk show, "Katie," will end in June, just in time for her to take on a new network challenge.

Sources told the New York Daily News Monday that talk of Couric's potential return started over cocktails at an event celebrating the redesign of The New York Observer.

"Today" host Matt Lauer, Couric's former co-anchor, who was also at the party, and Couric discussed her returning to sit in for Guthrie. The idea grew on Saturday night, when Couric and Guthrie were seen chatting at the White House Correspondents' dinner.

But an insider said there won't be a return of the Norville situation, no matter who comes in to substitute.

"Savannah isn’t going anywhere," the insider told The Daily News. "If it could be worked out, it would make total sense for Katie or Meredith, two familiar faces for 'Today' viewers. While this could make sense, it is just speculation, and there have not been any serious conversations about making it happen."

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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