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Lauer Crisis Experts: 'Today' Host Worried Over Ann Curry Backlash

Image: Lauer Crisis Experts: 'Today' Host Worried Over Ann Curry Backlash

Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 03:34 PM

By Michael Mullins

Matt Lauer, the embattled host of NBC's "Today" show, reportedly urged the network to hire a public relations team to deal with the backlash after former co-anchor Ann Curry's dismissal, which occurred last June.

The Comcast-owned network ignored Lauer's request, a source close to the morning show told the New York Post's Page Six, which led Lauer, 55, to take a more active role in the show's press plans.

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"Matt’s wanted to bring in an outside p.r. agency," a source close to the morning show said. "He lost faith and has wanted a crisis team in place. Since they haven’t hired an outside agency, he’s taking matters into his own hands."

Another source said executives at "Today" were interviewing outside firms last fall to deal with the fallout.

"They were looking for [outside firms] in the fall," the source told the Post. "But it was a case of the higher-ups at Comcast not wanting to bring someone in."

Many say Curry's firing is a main reason why the popular show's ratings suffered, the Post reported. Lauer's likeability has also plummeted since last year, as loyal viewers blame him for Curry's termination.

In March, Lauer said that he regretted the way in which Curry's dismissal was handled on "Today."

"I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well," Lauer told the Daily Beast. "You don’t have to be Einstein to know that... It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well."

Earlier this month, Lauer joked about the recent onslaught of bad press he'd received speaking before the UJA Federation of New York's Broadcast Cable & Film Division.

"These days, I only get asked to host dinners if polio is busy," Lauer joked. "Yup, I have a lower Q rating than polio right now."

In 2012, Lauer signed a $25 million-a-year deal to remain as a co-host on "Today," Newsday reported.

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Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie last summer.

A “Today” representative declined to comment on the issue.

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