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‘I’ll go anywhere with you’: Savannah gets Hoda emotional as she reflects on their friendship

Hoda and Savannah looked back on becoming the first all-female anchor duo in TODAY history and how their friendship has deepened over the years.

In 2018, Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie made history as being the first pair of women to co-anchor TODAY — but the bond between them goes way beyond that.

Hoda and Savannah got emotional on Wednesday night as they reflected on their friendship and the symbolic importance of their on-air partnership as TODAY commemorated its 70th anniversary with a special event at The Paley Center for Media in New York City.

The pair remembered back to the day in 2018 when Hoda was officially named co-anchor, making them just the second all-female anchor duo on a network morning show in television history.

Hoda recalled going to a SoulCycle class the next day when everyone started applauding. She thought it was for someone's birthday.

"And they said, 'No, what you and Savannah did today, that changed everything,'" Hoda said at The Paley Center. "And it wasn’t until that moment that it hit me that it was something that meant something to other people.

"And a woman came up with her young daughter and says, 'I want you to know something. My daughter now thinks it’s totally normal to wake up in the morning and see two women next to each other.' And that’s changed now for these kids."

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb
Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb are one of the rare all-female anchor duos in morning television show history. Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Savannah had been a co-anchor since 2012 and was navigating the turbulence of Matt Lauer being fired as TODAY co-anchor when Hoda officially joined her as his replacement.

"All I know was in that moment, it felt like I could drown if Hoda hadn’t reached down and grabbed my hand," Savannah said. "I will always say, she saved the show full stop. And holding hands with her and being like, 'We’re going to do this together,' meant everything to me. I don’t think I had the confidence by myself."

Hoda remarked about how the two of them always had worked well together, so it was a natural progression of a friendship that Savannah said has grown into something deeper.

"It’s wonderful to have a female partnership, but to me, to have this friend and cheerleader and partner, and I really feel that from her, and I hope we share that," Savannah said. "It’s incredible. I always say, 'I’ll hold my hands and close my eyes and go anywhere with you.' I would."

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb
(L-R) Harry Smith, Carson Daly, Al Roker, Jenna Bush Hager, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Dylan Dreyer, Sheinelle Jones and Willie Geist attend the 70th anniversary celebration of TODAY at The Paley Center for Media in New York City.Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Jenna Bush Hager, who co-hosts the fourth hour of TODAY with Hoda, also reflected on the close relationship she has developed with Hoda. Jenna said she would often be self-deprecating about hosting the show, but since the pandemic, she has realized how much seeing Hoda and Jenna every day on television meant to people during a difficult time.

"And since the pandemic I don’t do that anymore because Hoda and I had been together where people have said, 'You got me through a really hard time, you make me smile,'" Jenna said. "And so I think none of us take what we do lightly. It’s important, and it’s fun. And I get it. I feel the same way that Savannah does. I get to sit next to Hoda Kotb every single day."

Their bond is emblematic of the close-knit TODAY family that has made the show a morning fixture since its debut in 1952.

“I think in terms of casting, they figured it out,” TODAY’s Craig Melvin said about NBC management. “And we don’t have to fake it. And I think maybe at times we have, but we genuinely love each other, and we’re there for each other. We’re there for the mountains; we’re there for the valleys.”