- This week, journalist Maria Shriver joined Hoda Kotb on the fourth hour of Today while Jenna Bush Hager is on maternity leave.
- On Friday, Hoda posted an Instagram thanking Maria for being a guest co-host on Hoda & Jenna.
- Lots of Today fans commented on the post, saying Maria “needs her own spot” on the show.
On Tuesday, Today anchor Hoda Kotb officially returned to the show after being out on maternity leave following the adoption of her second daughter, Hope Catherine. But because her usual Hoda & Jenna co-host, Jenna Bush Hager, is out on her own maternity leave, Hoda was instead joined during the fourth hour by fellow Today anchor Natalie Morales and journalist Maria Shriver.
In an Instagram post on Friday, Hoda shared a gallery of photos from her first week back at work, including a photo of her sharing a special moment with her guest co-host Maria. She included a heartfelt caption with the pictures, thanking Maria and Natalie for “well … everything.”
The special bond between Hoda and Maria has been clear from the Today anchor’s first day back on the show, when she told Maria that she was the “one person” who she wanted to fill in for Jenna.
That sentiment — and the palpable connection between the two co-hosts throughout the week — clearly struck a chord with viewers, who came out in droves to comment on Hoda’s post about how much they loved seeing Maria on Today‘s fourth hour. “Maria needs her own spot there! Love the chemistry you two have!” one commenter wrote. “You and Maria have wonderful chemistry! She’d be a fabulous long-term addition to your hour,” another added. “She needs to join you and Jenna or have her own show,” wrote a third.
Maria later added her own comment to Hoda’s post, thanking Hoda, Natalie, and the fans for their support. “Best week,” she wrote. “I felt such joy[,] such belonging … thank you to all the wonderful viewers who have been so kind.”
Whether Today will bring in other guest co-hosts or Maria will continue co-hosting the fourth hour while Jenna is on maternity leave remains to be seen. Jenna gave birth to her third baby, Henry Harold “Hal” Hager, on August 2.