In a business known for big egos and petty jealousies, Hoda Kotb is a dose of Zen.
Life “is working out the way its supposed to work out,” Kotb tells TVNewser, reflecting on her 15th anniversary with NBC News. Co-anchoring the fourth hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford “fits like a puzzle piece, it just clicks…The show is a great place for me, and a happy place.”
It’s a gig she actively sought out. “I was always the one who waited to be noticed in life,” she reflects. But surviving cancer gave her a different perspective. The same year of her diagnosis – 2007 – she decided to ask management for the fourth-hour job. “And I remember how small it felt, how little and insignificant after what I’d been through. I believe today that if I hadn’t gotten sick…I wouldn’t have had the guts to ask for it.”
The ability to appreciate life, to feel “joyful” as she says, also was the motivation behind her new book, Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives.
The tome features the stories of six people for whom adversity brought a silver lining. Kotb lives the lesson. When she walks in to 30 Rock each morning, “I feel blessed and lucky.”
And that means she doesn’t pine for Savannah Guthrie‘s position. A Guthrie fan, Kotb says she did not lobby for that spot when it opened up last year, happy with her current gig and appreciative for the fourth hour after a decade at Dateline. “NBC,” she reflects, “is a place where you can grow.”
She also takes a long-term view when it comes to the future of Today itself, despite the current morning show wars. Kotb believes that Matt Lauer ”is the glue. He’s the one who keeps it together. He’s the best interviewer in the business, bar none.”
If Kotb seems at peace, it’s because she has an assuredness enhanced during her recovery. In an ”epiphany”, she decided that no one anymore could “scare me. You say to yourself, ‘what am I afraid of?’”