Longtime Today show co-host Katie Couric returned Monday as guest co-host for the first time since leaving the morning show in 2006. Couric is filling in all week for co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, who is on maternity leave.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Couric's return was heavily teased by the program on social media last week and over the weekend, and her appearance was included in the morning highlights at the top of Monday's show. After the major news stories, Today's intro featured a compilation of footage and photos from Couric's 15 years on the show as well as what looked like footage of Couric arriving to Studio 1A on Monday morning wearing sunglasses and carrying a cup of coffee.
At the top of the show, Matt Lauer joked that it was January 1997 since Couric was again by his side. She jokingly introduced herself to him before saying how thrilled she was to be back for the week. Couric also joked that the return might seem a bit like, cue the music, The Twilight Zone for Lauer.
Lauer and Couric also reunited with Al Roker, who appeared via video from Pasadena, where he was on hand for NBC's coverage of the Rose Parade. Roker joked about how the three of them had aged, saying, "What's a little frightening, Matt, is you and I look horrible, and she still looks fantastic." He added that he looked forward to reuniting with Couric in person Tuesday.
Couric seemed in good spirits throughout the morning, displaying her trademark perky personality, and even joining an a capella performance on the plaza. And the large crowd gathered outside, despite it being a cold, rainy morning, seemed thrilled to see her as well, chanting "Ka-tie" when Couric and Lauer took their first trip outside during the 8 o'clock hour.