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Today Show sparks chaos as it welcomes back beloved former anchor

The Today Show plaza featured a very familiar face

Carson Daly; Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker on Today
Jenni McKnight
US Lifestyle Editor
13 April 2024
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There was pandemonium at the Today Show plaza on Friday when Al RokerCarson DalyCraig MelvinHoda Kotband Savannah Guthrie welcomed back a beloved former anchor. 

Fans went wild after Katie Couric, 67, was introduced and began animatedly chanting her name and applauding her return. 

They weren't the only ones as Friday's hosts joined in on the fun and looked elated to stand beside the esteemed journalist again. See their reaction in the video below. 

WATCH: Katie Couric welcomed back to Today by the sounds of screaming fans

The clip was shared on Instagram and many fans were calling for Katie to permanently return to the NBC show.

Since she departed Today in 2006 after 15 years, Katie has been back multiple times but only for guest appearances. 

The reason behind her return was to promote her documentary, An American Bombing: The Road to April 19th, which she produced. The documentary recounts the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 that killed 168 people. 

Katie sat down with Hoda and Savannah as well as Kathy Sanders, who lost her two young grandsons in the attack. 

katie couric on today show© Today/NBC
Katy and Kathy discussed her new documentary

Katie left Today for CBS Evening News, making her the first solo female anchor of a nightly news broadcast on a major network. 

However, she previously admitted that she didn't think the country was ready for a solo female news anchor and left the position in 2011 after CBS Evening News languished in third place in the ratings. 

"Because I enjoyed such a great position at the Today show, I thought America was really ready for a female anchor of the evening news, and I think we were just not as far along as I naively thought," she told the 3rd hour of Today in 2021.

NBC News' Katie Couric on the Today Show on December 20, 1991© NBC NewsWire
Katie was on Today for 15 years

"I'm not sure if the country was ready for a female anchor — maybe they weren't just ready for me as a female anchor because of their perceptions of me," she added. 

"But I really went there to say a woman can do this job with confidence and competence, and that's really what motivated my decision." 

Elaborating on her decision to quit Today in her book, Going There, Katie explained: "I loved the Today show, but after 15 years, I was getting restless. 

Washington, DC. 6-15-1991 Katie Couric of NBC's "Today Show" in the studio Credit: Mark Reinstein© Getty Images
Katie left Today for CBS Evening News

"I longed to be respected for my journalistic chops, and although I'd done many serious interviews in the morning, the fun stuff, which I had a blast doing — like flying across the plaza dressed as Peter Pan while flinging phosphorescent confetti, fulfilling my dream of being a backup singer for Darlene Love, hurling myself onto a Velcro wall — was what people remembered.

"I felt like the show was getting softer, the hard news interviews getting shorter, the segments getting more sensational." 

She added: "I wanted to leave on my own terms, not because some TV executive decided I was no longer the flavor of the month. I wanted to jump before I got pushed." 

TODAY -- Pictured: Savannah Guthrie, Katie Couric and Hoda Kotb on Monday, October 3, 2022© Getty Images
Katie has returned for several guest appearances on Today

Katie wasn't pushed out, however. She was offered a new $20 million a year contract to stay at NBC, alongside "summers off, prime-time specials, and the opportunity to fill in for Jay Leno one week a year". 

But it wasn't enough to entice Katie to stay. 

She added: "I had loved my time at the network, but the CBS job was an extraordinary opportunity — for me and for women. Proving that we could do this, and do it well, meant so much to me."

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