|Courtesy of New York Observer|
Here's my random rambling rant/prediction:
We'll know soon enough who Matt's successor is when Willie Geist's contract is up. There's no way he signs unless he's guaranteed the seat next to Savannah.
If NBC decides to not give him the seat, Geist could just as easily jump to CBS and continue his dad's legacy on that network. Geist could help jumpstart CBS' new 24-hour network, become a "60 Minutes" and/or CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, sub in on the Evening News and even serve as Charlie Rose's heir on CTM which Chris Licht (former Morning Joe producer) produces. Darkhouse? "The View" on ABC which Bill Wolfe is producing now.
Carson Daly has a radio empire and "The Voice" and I doubt he'll leave that for Matt's seat although I wouldn't be surprised to see him quit "Last Call" soon. Josh Elliott wasn't lying when he said he came to NBC to join their sports department. He's doing features for SNF and will be Bob Costas' heir to the Olympics throne (hosting the Youth Olympics on NBCSN).
The only legitimate replacement I see for Matt outside of Willie Geist is a big celebrity who doesn't have news chops but can bring up ratings. But that would go against the strategy "Today" has been using as of late, going newsy at 7 a.m. up to 8 a.m. (unless Savannah anchored solo throughout the 7 a.m. hour but that wouldn't make sense either). And to be honest, I can't think of who that celebrity would be.
Another thing they could do is make Al Roker co-anchor but let Natalie and Savannah handle hard news interviews while Roker sticks to reading transitions to news stories, trendy newsmaker interviews (for example the mother who just delivered 20 babies etc.), and the weather of course. But that too would be weird.
Maybe they move Natalie up to co-anchor? I don't think that would work though because Natalie and Savannah don't really have a sisterly bond like say Hoda/Kathie Lee or Diane and Robin. The only same gender co-anchors I could see working out are Hoda and Savannah but who knows if Hoda has any interest in waking up earlier or if she would be willing to host both the 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. hours or if she could be taken seriously because of how much fun she has during the 10 a.m. hour. Unlike Natalie and Ann Curry, Hoda Kotb can adapt to any situation on television which she's in.
So basically to make a long story short, bottomline is that's Willie Geist's seat.