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Savannah Guthrie Biography

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Birth Name: Savannah Guthrie
Born: 12/27/1971
Birth Place: Tucson, Arizona, USA

Guthrie was born Dec. 27, 1971 to Charlie Guthrie, a mining engineer, and Nancy Guthrie, a public relations agent. She grew up in Tucson, AZ, where she attended the city's Amphitheater High School and later matriculated at the University of Arizona. She and sister Annie both apprenticed in broadcast journalism at the university's television station KUAT, where Guthrie worked on the local magazine show "Arizona Illustrated." Graduating in 1993, she found work in Columbia, MO, taking up both reporter and sometime-anchor duties at ABC-affiliate KMIZ. She returned home in 1995 to perform similar duties for Tucson's NBC station KVOA. In 1999, Guthrie decided to return to school and was accepted into Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. During her studies there, she continued her tele-journalist pursuits, working as a freelancer for the NBC-owned station WRC, which, in 2001, saw her called in to provide supplemental coverage of the September 11th terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Graduating magna cum laude in 2002 with her Juris Doctor, she did a short stint with the law/lobbyist firm to America's elite, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, taking the title of litigation associate with a specialty in defending white-collar criminals.

While Guthrie passed the bar in both DC and Arizona and had lined up a clerk position with a federal judge, she could not shake her inclination toward broadcast journalism. Her legal bona fides scored her a job with the cable channel Court TV, where she offered her lawyerly analysis on the headline-making trials of the day including the Martha Stewart insider-trading case, the confirmation hearings of right-wing Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito, and the Michael Jackson sexual abuse trial. It was during the latter media circus in Los Angeles that Guthrie began a relationship with BBC News producer Mark Orchard, then married to controversial print journalist Anne Kornblut of The New York Times. The on-assignment coupling prompted gossip in journalistic circles, and Orchard and Kornblut divorced not long after. Guthrie and Orchard married late in 2005. In 2007, NBC lured Guthrie back to its fold, bringing her on as a legal analyst and making her a correspondent in the ramp-up to the 2008 election as a contributor to "NBC Nightly News," the network's morning show "Today" and its 24-hour cable news channel MNSNBC. In the fall of 2008, she joined the reporter pool that followed notorious Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as she campaigned across the U.S. In December 2008, the network gave her the key assignment of White House correspondent, a position she shared with the network's political numbers analyst Chuck Todd.

Guthrie's engaging personality in-studio also made her NBC News' occasional choice as a substitute anchor for multiple shows on MSNBC's line-up, and in late 2009, she was designated to co-host the morning news show "The Daily Rundown" along with Todd. She and Orchard separated in 2009. NBC increasingly sought to groom her for bigger audiences, giving Guthrie sub duties for Meredith Vieira as host of "Today" and later for Vieira's replacement Ann Curry. In spring 2011, NBC News announced Guthrie would become a regular on the show, hosting its 9-10 a.m. hour alongside Natalie Morales and Al Roker. NBC also gave Guthrie the title of its chief legal analyst. In January 2011, NBC News put her on point for its coverage of the assassination attempt on Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson. After delivering the University of Arizona's commencement address that spring, the busy journalist was given an even more challenging assignment in August, subbing for David Gregory as interviewer of some of the week's top newsmakers on NBC's Sunday morning institution "Meet the Press." Surprisingly to some, she drew positive notices for asking tougher-than-typical-Gregory questions of former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and Republican Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. She was again called in to substitute for "Meet the Press" in April 2012. In early 2012, Guthrie took narrator duties on the Arizona Public Media (PBS) documentary "Together We Heal," an examination of the Tucson shootings and its aftermath. Around that same time, rumors began flying in the press regarding Guthrie as a possible replacement for "Today" co-host Curry, whom NBC brass were rumored to be dissatisfied with performance-wise. When Curry announced her departure on-air on June 28, Guthrie was conspicuously absent from the cast goodbyes. The following morning, Guthrie was announced officially as the program's new co-host alongside Matt Lauer.

By Matthew Grimm