The two Today show co-anchors were honored on Thursday night at The Hollywood Reporter’s 35 Most Powerful People in Media Celebration, and are featured on one of the three covers for the magazine’s special issue.
While at the event, Kotb and Guthrie opened up to ET about Lauer after his shocking exit from the NBC morning show last year following sexual harassment allegations.
Guthrie, 46, told ET she has “no idea” if the 60-year-old newsman is planning any sort of comeback, but noted, “I just know that he's really focused on his family right now and I think that's right.”
Kotb, 53, added, “Yeah, I think that is really where his heart is at this moment -- his children and just working on that. So, I think that work probably isn't in the forefront of his mind.”
The two also opened up about the status of their friendship with Lauer, who was their colleague for many years.
“When you've worked with someone for as many years as Savannah and I have worked with Matt you develop a friendship over the years, and, you know, feelings are complicated,” said Kotb, who replaced Lauer as Guthrie's co-anchor on Today. “You know, it's just like if you heard news about someone you cared about, you would probably go, ‘Wait, what is going on?’ I think it does take time even today to process what happened and we try to move forward and we're in this new place and we're just trying to do our best.”
Guthrie agreed with Kotb, chiming in, “We just, we love and respect our viewers, and I think we just try to be ourselves and that's the only option. I think it was so shocking and hard but we're just trying to move forward and try to do it with integrity and honesty and transparency and friendship to everyone involved. I think that's all we can do.”
The pair also opened up in THR’s issue about the difficult day when they had to announce Lauer's ousting live on air after having just heard about what happened hours prior.
"Just minutes before we're going on the air we went to Savannah's dressing room and had a moment of prayer," Kotb told the magazine. "It was hard. It was heavy."
"A lot of tears," Guthrie added.
For more from the new power team, watch the clip below!