Though she is only five months pregnant, speculation has already begun on who will take over for Savannah Guthrie during her maternity leave from The Today Show. The Daily News reported that both Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira are being eyed to return to their old desk positions next to Matt Lauer, but since they each have their own separate projects in the works for Yahoo and NBC, respectively, it seems unlikely they would commit to another (though temporary) full-time gig. While I don’t think Ann Curry should be sitting by her phone any time soon, below are some morning people who could get the wake up call when Guthrie is expected to take a leave later this summer.
Natalie Morales: For such a temporary shift, this would make the most logistical sense for NBC. The current news anchor and co-host of the third hour of Today joined the show back in 2006 and was promoted to her current position in 2011 when Ann Curry (briefly) replaced Meredith Vieira in the big chair. Morales already has a loyal following in The Today Show audience and her recent run of the Boston Marathon was a highlight of her ability to combine both fluff and serious news pieces at once, a difficult task for any morning show host. Of course if Morales were to move up, then someone would need to replace her, too, and it may also not be worth going down that worm hole either.
Jenna Bush Hager: Another face already on the Today team, the former first daughter gives off a similar vibe and attitude to Guthrie and has a great amount of pathos with the audience, some of whom have seen her grow up in the public’s eye. Regardless of who her family is, it’s easy to look past politics with Jenna. Of course, Jenna and her husband just had their own baby a year ago so there is a chance she may need another maternity leave soon as well!
Martha Stewart: Ok, just stay with me here on this one: the domestic goddess already makes multiple appearances throughout the year sharing seasonal and holiday treats and recipes and already has her own talked show produced by NBCUniversal. Since most of these types of business deals are likely to stay in family, Stewart could easily transition her passion for potatoes to fill in. Her knowledge of Twitter would also work really well in the Orange Room and now instead of just interviewing world leaders, we can see them crochet at the same time! Stewart already went to Today to discuss her dating problems, so she seems pretty comfortable there already.
Christina Applegate: Now, I don’t want to typecast anyone, but Applegate already played a fierce female news anchor in the two Anchorman films and would feel comfortable in a similar position. Plus, she’s been a professional in this business since she was a kid and has dealt with her fair share of criticism after leaving the NBC sitcom Up All Night and as a recurring judge on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. Applegate did, in fact, think she could dance in 2005 and starred in a Broadway revival of Sweet Charity after breaking her foot in the Boston out-of-town tryout. Not to mention she’s a breast cancer survivor. Seriously, this woman has guts – live morning television would be nothing.
Robin Wright: Can you imagine waking up to the sound of Claire Underwood updating you on the day’s top stories? It certainly would get me up in the morning. This one would probably never happen, but after Wright’s character’s on House of Cards was able to rock the political world after a revealing news interview, who knows what the actress could get out of someone. I mean, it’s really hard to say no to Claire Underwood.