These ladies have each other to lean on.
In the wake of the November scandals that stripped Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose of their longtime morning news seats at NBC and CBS, their female co-anchors stepped up to the daytime plate to carry the shows beyond the controversies.
Still, behind the teleprompters, scripts and interviews, the journalists were coping in real time with allegations that contradicted the men they believed their professional partners to be. For Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, they were as much a team on that fateful morning as they are now, a permanent duo at Today.
"We were literally both woken up out of our beds with this information. We had no idea. We had to go on the air and say something with very little information. In fact, the information we said was [all] the information we knew, it wasn't like we were holding back," Guthrie recalled to The Hollywood Reporter, calling the day of Lauer's firing "crushing."
"Just minutes before we're going on the air we went to Savannah's dressing room and had a moment of prayer," Kotb described. "It was hard. It was heavy."
It was a similar confusion for King and O'Donnell, who learned of allegations of sexual harassment against the veteran journalist in a Washington Post report. He was subsequently fired from his work at CBS and PBS. "I was stunned and shocked. I really was. Because we were all in the middle of the #MeToo conversation, I never thought we would be part of the #MeToo conversation. I never saw that coming for us," King told THR.
For both pairs of women, the line between the men they knew and the men their accusers described is a fuzzy one. "I have to say, I still do [consider Rose a friend]. So it was very interesting to have a friend really let you down, and I think he did. I only speak for me. It was a punch in the stomach to me," King told the magazine.
The news anchor has checked on Rose, who according to THR has retreated to his Long Island home.
"He tells me that he's fine," she told the magazine."Because I said, 'I'm worried about you.' He keeps assuring me there's no reason to be worried about him, but I am worried about him, I am. And I do care about him. He was a big part of my life for six years. So I can't just turn that off. But I also can't dismiss the stories that I'm hearing, and I do take them very seriously."
So seriously that she has addressed them with Rose herself. "I can't dismiss what I'm hearing. I can't act like I didn't hear that," she told the magazine.
"This is one of those complex situations," Kotb said, noting that they still keep in touch with Lauer. "I've known him since I started working at NBC [in 1998]. When I was sick with breast cancer, he was the first to call. He helps and helped in ways that...you know, he was incredible in that way. There is that Matt and then there's the Matt that the accusers speak of. And those accusers' voices matter and that story matters."
Had O'Donnell heard those stories before they went public, she thinks they would have been equally difficult to confront Rose with. "I would not have felt comfortable having that conversation with him. I think he would've screamed at me," she said.
"I don't know, Norah, if that's true," King added. "Because, you know, nobody likes to be confronted about bad behavior. I don't think he would've taken it well. But I definitely would've had a conversation about it."
With accusers finally being heard, the events of the last year have also incited national discussions about equal pay, female representation in the media and the workplace for women. Meanwhile, Kotb, Guthrie, O'Donnell, King and ABC's Robin Roberts are all holding strong at their respective networks, proving that the news does not depend on men, no matter how the structure had been configured in the past.
"Girls coming up today, I'm excited for them," King said. "They're not gonna take crap."
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)