The Today show has been a revolving door of drama, from sudden firings to rumored promotions. But fans who’ve been watching the show since the ’80s can’t help being biased against former anchors like Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. And although the morning show has been the subject of on-air drama lately, the show has had plenty of surprising moments happen behind the scenes, too. Below, eight facts about your favorite Today host you probably didn’t know.
Katie Couric Bryant Gumbel
Katie and Bryant Gumbel didn't get along.
"We were two different kinds of people," Bryant said about his former Today co-host. "We saw things in different ways. What sometimes she thought was funny, I would think was not; what I thought was funny, she thought was juvenile. We got along for television purposes, and off the air we got along, but we weren't particularly close."
Hoda Kotb was "starstruck" when she first met Kathie Lee Gifford.
To get Kathie to join the show, Hoda took her out for a four-hour lunch where the two immediately hit it off. But Hoda later admitted that she was a little starstruck by Kathie at first. "I remember thinking I was a little in awe…because you know what? We all watched you with Regis," Hoda told Kathie on the show. “But I was like, ‘Oh my God it’s Kathie Lee Gifford. It’s Kathie Lee Gifford…’ I couldn’t get it out!"
Matt Lauer Al Roker
Matt Lauer and Al Roker didn't get along when they first met.
“We had a rough start and it’s amazing we are dear friends now,” Matt told Al on the show earlier this year. “Long story short, we’re on the air one time on local television years ago. Al said something to me that I did not appreciate, live on television.”
Al responded, “He booted my name and I said, ‘Wow, not so easy in the big leagues, is it pretty boy?'” We're glad the two can laugh about it now!
Ann Curry Today
Ann Curry's wardrobe wasn't a hit with NBC executives.
“One day I wore a multicolored dress and someone asked if I was trying to be Toucan Sam," she told Ladies Home Journal in 2012. "But I chose it because I thought, 'This will perk up America.' I’m encouraged by my bosses to wear these ridiculously high-heeled shoes because women say, ‘I love your shoes!’ So if it makes women happy, I’ll wear them. But I’m still going to be me... I’ve tried to wear clogs and flats on TV and it hasn’t gone well with my bosses.”
Katie Couric Matt Co Hosts
Katie Couric said Matt would "pinch" her a lot.
When appearing on Watch What Happens Live in 2012, the former Today co-host was asked about Matt's "most annoying habit." “He pinches me on the a-- a lot,” Katie responded.
Jane Pauley Today
Jane Pauley left the Today show because she was secretly battling bipolar disorder.
When Jane left the show in 1989, viewers were upset because they thought she was being replaced with younger anchor Deborah Norville. But the reality was that she was secretly suffering from a serious condition.
"[My doctor] explained that he thought I might be suffering hypomania," she told Matt in 2004. "I’d never heard the word before. But it sounded to me like big time mania – really bad, big mania. It was not that. It means mild mania. But the bottom line was he was saying I was suffering from bipolar disorder.”
She later returned to NBC in 1992 to host Dateline.
Katie Couric Al Roker
Katie says her favorite Christmas gift ever was given to her by Al.
"My best Christmas gift ever was when Al Roker gave me a Bacon of the Month club membership," she revealed to Us Weekly.
Bryant Matt Laure Friends
Bryant and Matt are still best friends.
“He’s my best buddy,” Bryant said. “I was the best man at his wedding. He was the best man at mine.” Bryant has also stood behind Matt during his tumultuous firing. "I still love him!" Bryant told reporters.