This has been expected, but NBC has made it official, starting on Sept. 10. The announcement, posted after the jump, notes that stations will carry the fourth hour either at 10 -- leading out of the other three hours -- or at 11, after an hour of station programming. In Cleveland, the plan is for the fourth hour at 11. ...
Here's the announcement:
On Monday, September 10, more than 55 years after making its historic debut, NBC News will launch an additional hour of its number one morning show when it debuts the fourth hour of "Today." The hour will be hosted by a team that has been a vital part of "Today's" unprecedented run in first place for nearly twelve years: "Today" News Anchor and "Dateline NBC" Anchor Ann Curry, National Correspondent Natalie Morales, and Correspondent Hoda Kotb. NBC News' vast lineup of correspondents and contributors - including Amy Robach, David Gregory, Giada DeLaurentiis, Jenna Wolfe, Nancy Snyderman, Tiki Barber, among others - will make regular appearances as co-anchors, rounding out the team. Occasionally a special guest - some unexpected - will join Ann, Natalie and Hoda as co-anchor.
The fourth hour will continue "Today's" rich history of setting the agenda for what Americans will be talking about in the office, at the watercooler and with friends all day. The hour will be topical and timely, incorporating the news of the day with what people are buzzing about in a spontaneous, informative and dynamic manner.
"As a veteran of producing countless hours of 'Today' myself, I'm so proud to be part of this announcement," said Steve Capus, President of NBC News. "We never anticipated when we launched the third hour that it would have become the success that it is, and we can only imagine that the fourth hour will be welcomed by our loyal viewers with the same enthusiasm."
Already 90 percent of NBC stations have signed on to carry the fourth hour at 10 or 11 a.m. local time, maximizing the lead-in value of "Today's" preceding hours. Some markets will carry it later in the day.
"The third hour of 'Today' has been a phenomenal success in morning television and we're thrilled to expand this great franchise again," said Jim Bell, Executive Producer of "Today." "As we've seen with the explosive online growth of TODAYshow.com, there is huge interest in the 'Today' brand and our viewers are looking to us for more news, more information and more stories. And for this fourth hour we've put together a great 'Today' team, both on-air and behind the scenes."
The third hour of "Today" launched in 2000 and has been extremely successful both from an audience standpoint and in extending the "Today" brand. The ratings results of the program's 2000 expansion are significant. In its first sweep, in November 2000, "Today's" third hour improved time slot performance by 13 percent in household ratings and five percent in the W25-54 demographic. Currently, it averages more than 3.6 million viewers each day, retaining 81 percent of "Today's" 8:30 a.m. audience. The third hour tops ABC's "The View" by 4 percent in total viewers and CBS' "Early Show" by 35 percent.
NBC News "Today" contributors, including Joy Bauer, Jean Chatzky, Dr. Gail Saltz, Janice Lieberman, and Stacy London will also appear in the fourth hour.
"Today" Senior Producer Amy Rosenblum will oversee the fourth hour of "Today." With 27 years of news and daytime television experience and a veteran of the "Today" show, Rosenblum's experience is tailor-made for this new role.