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Al, Savannah and Hoda all smiles at annual tree lighting

The annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting event kicked off Wednesday night with just Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker putting on a united front hosting the event after Matt Lauer was fired from the Today show over sexual misconduct claims.

The trio of Today Show hosts smiled throughout the evening despite missing Lauer – who was set to be on stage with them for the popular event that’s watched by millions around the world. 

The seasoned journalists stuck together and seamlessly introduced the performers of the night, including Brett Eldredge, Jennifer Nettles, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani and The Tenors, among others.

But hours before the popular event started at 7pm CT, NBC executives were reportedly struggling to cut footage of the disgraced ex-Today show host from the footage they pre-tapped as he was included in a substantial chunk, an insider told Page Six.

The annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting event kicked off Wednesday night with just Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker (above) putting on a united front hosting the event after Matt Lauer was fired from the Today show over sexual misconduct claims

The trio of Today Show hosts smiled throughout the evening despite missing Lauer - who was set to be on stage with them for the popular event that's watched by millions around the world

The trio of Today Show hosts smiled throughout the evening despite missing Lauer – who was set to be on stage with them for the popular event that’s watched by millions around the world

The seasoned journalists stuck together and seamlessly introduced the performers of the night, including Brett Eldredge (above), Jennifer Nettles, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani and The Tenors, among others

The seasoned journalists stuck together and seamlessly introduced the performers of the night, including Brett Eldredge (above), Jennifer Nettles, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani and The Tenors, among others

Roker also shared a selfie he took alongside Guthrie and Kotb and shared it to his Instagram account. He captioned it: 'Getting ready to light the #rockcenterxmasstree on @NBC with my pals @hodakotb and @savannahguthrie.'

Roker also shared a selfie he took alongside Guthrie and Kotb and shared it to his Instagram account. He captioned it: ‘Getting ready to light the #rockcenterxmasstree on @NBC with my pals @hodakotb and @savannahguthrie.’

‘Much of that has been pre-taped already,’ the insider said. ‘They must be scrambling to figure out how to edit around that. Awkward!’

Kotb, Guthrie and Roker took turns throughout Wednesday night’s event to share their individual special holiday moments, a move likely to make up for the footage that had to be cut featuring Lauer. 

Roker also shared a selfie he took alongside Guthrie and Kotb and shared it to his Instagram account. 

He captioned it: ‘Getting ready to light the #rockcenterxmasstree on @NBC with my pals @hodakotb and @savannahguthrie.’

In the image, Roker and Kotb both had wide smiles, while Guthrie seemingly appeared to be drained and still reeling from the emotional day that started with her announcing alongside Kotb that Lauer was fired. 

NBC's execs were reportedly struggling to cut Matt Lauer from NBC's Christmas tree lighting show. He's seen second from right, along with (l-r) Alec Baldwin and his daughter Carmen; Kate McKinnon; and Hoda Kotb in 2016

NBC’s execs were reportedly struggling to cut Matt Lauer from NBC’s Christmas tree lighting show. He’s seen second from right, along with (l-r) Alec Baldwin and his daughter Carmen; Kate McKinnon; and Hoda Kotb in 2016

Lauer (seen here in undated photo with Al Roker and Jane Pauley) has been presenting the NBC event since 1998

Many segments at the event (seen here in 2016) are pre-taped, and must now be edited

Lauer (seen left in undated photo with Al Roker and Jane Pauley) has been presenting the NBC event (left in 2016) since 1998. Many segments were pre-taped, and reportedly had to be edited

So far 10 women have accused Lauer (seen with Roker, Kotb and, second from right Savannah Guthrie last year) of sexual harassment or impropriety

So far 10 women have accused Lauer (seen with Roker, Kotb and, second from right Savannah Guthrie last year) of sexual harassment or impropriety

The father-of-three, who had been hosting Christmas in Rockefeller Center since 1998, was axed from his $25-million-a-year position at NBC after a 24-hour investigation by NBC into claims made by one woman.

She told NBC bosses on Monday that Lauer had sexually harassed her at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

She made the same claims to Variety for an article published Wednesday, along with nine other unidentified women who made their own claims against him.

One claimed that Lauer had given her a sex toy for Christmas, along with an ‘explicit’ note saying how he would like to use it on her.

Another said that Lauer had flashed her while she was in his office, then ‘reprimanded’ her after the refused to engage in sex acts. 

That same office was equipped with a button that allowed Lauer to lock the door using a button on his desk, two women told the site.

Tough morning: The news of Lauer's firing was announced at the top of the program by Savannah Guthrie, who could be seen clutching Hoda Kotb's hand for support (above)

Tough morning: The news of Lauer’s firing was announced at the top of the program by Savannah Guthrie, who could be seen clutching Hoda Kotb’s hand for support (above)

Timing: This all comes just as exposes detailing claims of sexual misconduct against Lauer are set to be released by Variety and The New York Times (Kotb above on Wednesday)

Timing: This all comes just as exposes detailing claims of sexual misconduct against Lauer are set to be released by Variety and The New York Times (Kotb above on Wednesday)

‘This is a very tough morning for both of us. I’ve known Matt for 15 years. And I’ve loved him as a friend and a colleague,’ said Kotb

‘This afforded him the assurance of privacy,’ wrote Variety reporter Ramin Setoodeh.

‘It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him.’

One producer told the magazine that ‘There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held.

‘He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.’ 

Shut it down: Natalie Morales said on Access Hollywood (above) that she was shocked, and firmly stated once again that she and Lauer did not engage in a relationship at Today

Shut it down: Natalie Morales said on Access Hollywood (above) that she was shocked, and firmly stated once again that she and Lauer did not engage in a relationship at Today

He often used the Olympics as an opportunity to sleep with women, the sources said – so much so that his wife accompanied him to the 2012 London Olympics because she didn’t trust him.

NBC chairman Andy Lack told staff that Lauer had been fired in a memo Wednesday.

‘On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer,’ he wrote.

‘It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.’

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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