He got the cover of this month’s New York Magazine, but NBC “Today Show” host Matt Lauer probably could do without the accompanying 8,000-word article that delves deeply into his rocky relationship with Ann Curry and reveals he almost skipped to ABC last year.
Despite fresh attempts to gloss things over, the poor state of Lauer and Curry’s relationship before her less-than-subtle boot from “Today” has stuck in the public's mind and, as the New York Magazine article made clear, his sour feelings weren't at all a surprise to everyone else at the network.
"Everybody at NBC, everybody at the Today show, everybody understood that Ann was kicked out of her position because Matt didn't want her there," a prominent NBC staffer told New York writer Joe Hagan
. "That's why it was so personal between Ann and Matt."
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Recently, however, Lauer had maintained that he was pulling for Curry,
even asking NBC executives to put off firing her.
"He was quietly and publicly a supporter of Ann's throughout the entire process," Steve Capus, the former NBC News president, told the Daily Beast. "It is unfair that Matt has shouldered an undue amount of blame for a decision he disagreed with."
Curry joined the “Today” family as a newsreader 1997 and was promoted when Meredith Vieira left in 2011. Lauer and Curry never really had any on-air chemistry and the ratings sharply dropped.
After “Good Morning America” jumped in front of “Today” in the ratings, Curry was demoted to correspondent-at-large and replaced by Savannah Guthrie in 2012. Curry was subsequently bumped from the show not long after
, suspiciously close to the time that Lauer’s contract renewal was in the works.
Amid rumors of being replaced himself by Ryan Seacrest, Hagen reported, Lauer considered the possibility of jumping over to ABC to join longtime friend Katie Couric. The talks went as high as Bob Iger, CEO of ABC parent Disney, who wanted Lauer to help keep “Good Morning America” high in the ratings.
Lauer reportedly used his conversations with ABC execs to increase his two-year contract with NBC to $25 million, turning his back on what ABC thought was a done-deal.
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