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Carson Daly joins the ‘Today’ show

Carson Daly is leaving the very, very late night for the very, very early morning.

Carson Daly (Jeff Christensen/ AP Photo)

The perma-host will soon be wrapping up his duties on NBC’s “Last Call With Carson Daly,” swapping it for a gig on the “Today” show, where he’ll join Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and team as a digital studio host/social media correspondent of sorts.

NBC was cagey about the future of “Last Call,” only saying that Daly will continue as executive producer, and plans for a “transition” will be announced later. Plus, Daly will stay as host of “The Voice,” which kicks off its fifth season this month, and continue to helm his morning drive radio show in Los Angeles.

As for his job on “Today,” Daly will be put in charge of the show’s new “Orange Room,” NBC said, which is a digital studio that will open up a redesigned, open set that will allow the show’s hosts to “tell and share engaging, illustrative stories” using state-of-the-art technology video systems. In other words, it’s a social media hub, as NBC says it will include “analysis of real-time social data and reactions from the web.”

Having trouble picturing what that will look like, exactly? Daly, who started his career as a host on MTV’s “Total Request Live” in the ’90s, will guide us through the process, NBC promises, bridging the high-tech studio with the regular “Today” show segments.

“Carson is the perfect fit for this exciting new role,” said “Today” exec producer Don Nash. “He’s passionate about being on the forefront of new media, and has distinguished himself as a socially savvy broadcaster with a unique ability to engage audiences.”

If there’s one thing the “Today” show needs, it’s audience engagement  — the show has been suffering a wave of bad press since Ann Curry was booted in favor of Savannah Guthrie last summer; “Good Morning America” continues to win in the ratings on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, Daly has hosted “Last Call” since 2002, but its future looked increasingly cloudy as things shifted in the world on NBC late-night. Right around the time NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon would take over for Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” in 2014, there was speculation that Alec Baldwin might be next in line for Daly’s spot. (Those rumors were declared officially dead when Baldwin accepted a spot on MSNBC’s Friday night line-up last week.)

Daly, who also gets a first-look deal for scripted and reality shows with NBC out of the arrangement, will start on the “Today” show Sept. 16.

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.



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Ron Charles · September 11, 2013

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