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Willie Geist Officially Named NBC 'Today' Show Co-Host

Ridgewood native will begin co-hosting the 9 a.m. hour on Nov. 12.

NBC confirmed Wednesday morning that Ridgewood native Willie Geist will be taking over co-hosting duties for NBC's popular 'Today' show.

The NY Times Media Decoder Blog first reported in September that Geist, who has his own show on MSNBC and co-hosts Morning Joe from 6 to 9 a.m., would be taking a key role at the struggling NBC flagship.

The ratings of 'Today' for the first time in more than a decade have fallen behind ABC's Good Morning America. The Times reports there has been tension with the controversial departure of Ann Curry and difficulties with host Matt Lauer.

"We are thrilled to add Willie to the Today team," said executive producer Jim Bell in a statement posted on the program's website. "He brings a solid news background with a keen sense of creativity and humor. From politics to pop culture, Willie is a skilled and versatile reporter who will make a great addition at 9 a.m. and contribute to the entire broadcast." 

According to the Wednesday NY Times piece, he will continue to co-host Morning Joe from 6 to 9 a.m. but will cede hosting duties of his 5:30 a.m. "Way Too Early" show. He'll serve as Lauer's fill-in when he's absent.

Geist grew up in Ridgewood and graduated from Ridgewood High School in 1993. He was a star athlete on the basketball and football teams.

The son of newsman Bill Geist, Willie married his middle school sweetheart Christina Sharkey in 2003. The couple have two children and live in New York City.

Correction: The year Geist graduated high school was incorrectly stated in an earlier version.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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