Performances for the 85th annual show included Harry Connick Jr., Gwen Stefani, Pentatonix, Leslie Odom Jr., Jennifer Nettles and Brett Eldredge.
The holiday show must go on.
After a tense day of revelations about their former co-host, Matt Lauer, the “TODAY” cast united for the annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting event.
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Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker put on smiles throughout Wednesday night’s 85th annual show, despite the scandal continuously unfolding around Lauer — who would normally be beside them on stage in New York.
According to an insider to Page Six, Lauer was set to be a huge part of the show.
“Much of that has been pre-taped already,” said the source. “They must be scrambling to figure out how to edit around that. Awkward!”
Prior to the show, NBC executives were allegedly rushing to scrub all mention of Lauer from pre-taped footage and the Christmas Tree Lighting website, in addition to removing all mention of the disgraced journalist from social media.
The veteran anchors, however, didn’t show any outward signs of their hectic day when introducing performances by Harry Connick Jr., Gwen Stefani, Pentatonix, Leslie Odom Jr., Jennifer Nettles and many more artists. Of course, the show wasn’t complete without a rousing performance by New York’s famed Rockettes.
According to the Daily Mail, the hosts taking turns to share their favorite holiday memories may have been a way to make up for the deleted footage of Lauer.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the trio of hosts to light the 75-foot tall Norway spruce tree, before Samantha Guthrie signed off the show.
Earlier Wednesday morning, the bombshell news broke that Lauer had been fired from NBC amid sexual misconduct allegations. Over the course of the day, shocking reports detailed the extent to which the host’s inappropriate behavior allegedly went.
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“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” Andrew Lack, the NBC News chairman, wrote while announcing Lauer’s termination, which came after an NBC employee accused the host of sexually assaulting her during the Sochi Olympics. He has also been accused of gifting a sex toy to a coworker with an accompanying note indicating how he wanted to use it on her and of exposing his penis to another colleague, among other shocking allegations.
Lauer’s dismissal comes just a week after Charlie Rose was fired by CBS News following similar accusations.