TODAY's Takeaway: Carson joins the family, Prince William retires

Leon Panetta discusses Syria, Carson joins the TODAY family and William leaves the British armed forces.

1. Welcome to the family, Carson!

It’s official: Carson Daly is joining the TODAY team starting Monday as host of Studio 1A’s new Orange Room — a new studio where broadcast meets digital.

“When I got the call about being permanently on TODAY and launching the Orange Room, it was like a dream come true,” Carson told earlier this week. “You know that scene in 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,’ where Charlie peels back the wrapper and finds the golden ticket? I felt like I got the golden ticket.”

Want a sneak peek at the new space? Check it out.

2. After more than seven years in the British armed forces, Prince William is leaving to focus on his royal duties and charity work (and nappy changing, we assume).

3. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta joined the show this morning to talk Syria, and responded with a quick dismissal of Vladimir Putin’s op-ed Thursday morning in The New York Times.

“I think he was trying to, in his own way, weaken the United States in the effort to negotiate these issues,” he told Savannah.

4. Was JFK an accidental victim? One author thinks so. James Reston Jr. made his case to Matt this morning: Lee Harvey Oswald may have had a different target in mind when he pulled the trigger.

5. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (already)! There are more than 100 days left before the jolly holiday, but Kmart has already rolled out Christmas commercials. Sure, the mega retailer is advertising its layaway program, but September feels too soon for some. We haven't even picked out our Halloween costumes yet!

And that's TODAY's Takeaway!