On Tuesday, it was officially announced that Kotb is taking over Lauer's former position alongside Savannah Guthrie, after he was abruptly fired in November for "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace." The source tells ET that the staff at the show isn’t upset over losing Lauer, and in fact, is now feeling "energized."
“The staff knew they had no choice but to respect Matt. He was at the top. He was intimidating,” the source notes. “People aren’t intimidated by Hoda. She is very well liked. Her personality is the opposite of Matt’s. She’s warm. Matt would say good morning and hello to people in passing, but most read it as cold. Hoda will give anyone the time of day.”
“People at the show and the network are genuinely happy for Hoda," the source adds. "She’s the real deal. Who she is on television is exactly who she is off television."
According to the source, Kotb is very well liked behind the scenes, and is also already very good friends off-camera with Guthrie.
"Their relationship is very similar to Savannah and Matt’s," the source shares.
As for a recent report that Lauer is still contacting Today show producers with notes and critiques about the show, our source says this isn't accurate.
"It’s well known that Matt has stayed in touch with the talent since his firing, but he has not reached out to producers telling them what he thinks about how they’re putting the show together,” the source says.
ET spoke to both Kotb and Guthrie on Tuesday after the big announcement of Kotb's promotion, when Kotb talked about their current relationship with the embattled newsman. Kotb revealed Lauer texted her congratulations on landing the high-profile gig.
"You know, Matt is our good friend and continues to be, and I think for both of us, we've just been trying to navigate this time and honor our love and friendship with Matt, but also understand and try to learn more about these circumstances," Kotb told ET. "So, it's complicated when you are surprised by revelations, but you still care deeply for somebody who's a friend. I think for all of us, we've just been trying to navigate through that, with straightforwardness and honesty and integrity."