Today Show viewers were finally given an explanation as to why Hoda Kotb has been missing from the morning show since Feb. 18. On the March 1 episode, Hoda’s co-workers explained that she’s been taking a leave from the show to focus on a “family health issue.” Craig Melvin filled in the anchor slot, and explained, “We know a lot of you have been wondering how she’s doing. We can tell you that Hoda’s okay. She’s got a family health matter that she’s been dealing with, so we look forward to seeing Hoda and Savannah [Guthrie] back at the desk real, real soon.” (Savannah was absent due to a positive COVID-19 test on Feb. 28).
Hoda’s last live appearance on the show was on February 17. She was still included in the Today episode that aired for President’s Day on Monday, February 20, but the episode had been pre-recorded the Friday before, according to Page Six. The anchor’s Today co-hosts Jenna Bush Hager and Savannah Guthrie had not specified why Hoda had been out, and fans started to get concerned when it wasn’t explained why Hoda wasn’t on-air.
Savannah was joined by World News Tonight anchor Tom Llamas and Today co-host Craig Melvin for her segments which are normally with Hoda. Willie Geist and Sheinelle Jones have filled in alongside Jenna in Hoda’s absence.
During Hoda’s time away, Savannah was also rushed off the air on Tuesday, February 28, after she was not feeling well. It was later revealed that she had tested positive for COVID-19. Sheinelle revealed what had happened after coming back from a commercial break. “As we said, Savannah left early, she wasn’t feeling great, so she took a COVID test. It came back positive. So, as soon as we found out, she rushed home to rest up,” she said.
While Hoda did not explain why she had been missing until now, she did occasionally share a few inspirational quotes on her Instagram. The quotes had uplifting themes like “Hope”, being brave, “magic”, “miracles”, and “strong women.” While she didn’t explain why she was absent, her quotes were occasionally accompanied by encouraging words for her followers. “Happy Wednesday xo here’s to the brave ones,” she wrote in one caption. “I see you… you strong women.”
Hoda isn’t the only Today host who recently had an extended absence from the program. Her co-host Al Roker spent some time away from the show at the end of 2022, after having some health issues with blood clots. The anchor missed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade for the first time in 27 years as he was hospitalized with blood clots. He made his first appearance back on the show in mid-December, giving fans an update on his health. “Everyday I feel a little bit better. I made dinner last night. There’s gonna be a little bit of a slog, but a lot of people have to deal with a lot more with fewer resources,” he said at the time.
Al made his full-time return early in January. He made his return alongside his wife Deborah Roberts, showing that he was glad to be back. “I’m so thrilled to see all of you and the crew and everybody. Right now, I’m running on adrenaline. I’m just thrilled to be here,” he said.