Pop Culture: Katie Couric Back at NBC Today (Filling in for Savannah Guthrie)

Vet co-host Katie Couric returned as guest co-host of NBC’s Today for the first time since leaving the NBC morning show in 2006. Couric is filling in all week for co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, who’s on maternity leave.

Couric’s return was teased by the NBC morning show on social media last week and over the weekend and her appearance was included in the morning highlights at the top of Monday’s show. After the major news stories, Today‘s intro featured a compilation of footage and photos from Couric’s 15 years on the show as well as what looked like footage of Couric arriving to Studio 1A on Monday morning wearing sunglasses and carrying a cup of coffee.

At the top of the show, Matt Lauer joked that it was January of 1997, since Couric was again by his side. She jokingly introduced herself to him before saying how thrilled she was to be back, filling in for Guthrie.

As Lauer and Couric moved through the news during the 7 o’clock hour, various correspondents and even incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer all took a minute to welcome back Couric.

The two also returned from commercial with a clip of Lauer’s first day co-anchoring Today with Couric, back in 1997, with Couric joking of their short hairdos, “Apparently we had the same hairstyle.” She added, “My side of the desk is a pigsty, and yours is all neat and tidy,” she said. “Some things never change.”

Katie Couric
Lauer and Couric also reunited with Al Roker, who appeared via video from Pasadena, where he┬ácovered the Rose Parade. Roker joked about how the three of them had aged, saying, “What’s a little frightening, Matt, is you and I look horrible, and she still looks fantastic.” He added that he looked forward to reuniting with Couric in person Tuesday.

Couric seemed in good spirits, displaying her trademark perky personality, and even joining an a capella performance on the plaza. And the large crowd gathered outside, despite a cold, rainy morning, seemed thrilled to see her as well, chanting, “Ka-tie” when Couric and Lauer took their first trip outside during the 8 o’clock hour.

“It just feels like I never left,” Couric told Lauer an hour into Monday’s show. “And you make it so easy, Matt, because you’re so great at this job.”

Couric, who turns 60 on Saturday, joined Dr. Oz for a segment about health at that age. But that segment wasn’t without a couple of bloopers, with Lauer jumping in toward the end to physically move Couric and Oz to the right saying they were still in front of the first of several vertical panels. At the end, Oz told Couric “despite Matt’s criticism, you did beautifully,” leading her to blow a raspberry at him.