Matt Lauer replacement options: Megyn Kelly, Hoda Kotb and more

Who will replace Matt Lauer?

The list of potential candidates is short, shorter still for candidates from within NBC News. The next co-anchor of “Today” must have a familiarity — indeed comfort — with live television; understand the unusual demands of morning television; and have a deep knowledge of the flow and structure of “Today” itself. These jobs are tough because they require a degree of flexibility in approach and style. Consider that on a hypothetical news day, the “Today” co-anchor might interview the president of the United States during the 7 a.m. hour, and in the 8 a.m. hour interview a hot-yoga instructor as part of a keeping fit segment.

Here are the possible candidates from within:

Craig Melvin

The "MSNBC Live" and Saturday co-anchor of "Weekend Today" has filled in on "Today" recently. His work history checks most of the important boxes (see above), plus he is only 38 -- young enough for a long career ahead. He would become only the second African American co-anchor in "Today" history. Bryant Gumbel was the first.

Hoda Kotb

An all-female anchor team at "Today?" Why not? There's no law against that, certainly nothing to indicate this might not work. Kotb is a viewer favorite and also a substitute co-anchor at "Today," where she is spending more and more time. She knows the show and its idiosyncrasies well -- very well.

Willie Geist

Willie Geist had his shot as co-anchor during the 9 a.m. hour -- considered a launchpad for a role at 7 -- but it didn't work out. He's now back full time as "Sunday Today" anchor. Could he head back to weekdays? It's reasonable to assume that he'll be back at "Today" in a fill-in capacity in the days and weeks ahead. A permanent role? That seems a more distant possibility but certainly a possibility.


Carl Quintanilla

Carl Quintanilla The CNBC anchor has been a frequent substitute here -- that bodes well -- but he's also needed at CNBC.

Megyn Kelly

Megyn Kelly's name has to come up on these lists but that hardly means she has to be heir apparent. She's not, at least for the moment. After a particularly rough start, she is still establishing a morning base at 9 a.m. Assuming that goes well, she could have a role at 7 a.m. in the future, just not the immediate one.