Matt Lauer: 'Today' Host Blames Lazy Media for Ann Curry Debacle

Image: Matt Lauer: 'Today' Host Blames Lazy Media for Ann Curry Debacle Matt Lauer, left, and Ann Curry in 2011.

Wednesday, 11 Sep 2013 09:56 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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"Today" co-host Matt Lauer lambasted the media for its handling of the whole Ann Curry debacle, saying in a new interview that he was "disappointed by the laziness."

"I was disappointed by the laziness of the media, the willingness to read a rumor, repeat that rumor, and treat it as a fact," Lauer says in the upcoming October 2013 issue of Esquire magazine.

Curry, who started as one of NBC's "Today" newsreaders in 1997, was promoted in 2011 following Meredith Vieira's exit. But she never really clicked with Lauer, and viewership plummeted. In April 2012, ABC's "Good Morning America" moved ahead of "Today" in the weekly ratings race for the first time in 16 years, and shortly after Curry was demoted to correspondent-at-large and replaced by Savannah Guthrie.

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At the time, Lauer took a public lashing when nearly all the major media outlets painted him as the villain that drove Curry from her co-anchor position at "Today."

The timing of Curry's ousting was also suspiciously close to the time that Lauer's contract renewal was in the works and he took the brunt of the blame from the public who liked Curry's more emotional reporting style.

"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 in comments included in a massive March 2013 Lauer profile. "That's why it was so personal between Ann and Matt."

Now, Lauer is speaking out and criticizing the media's coverage of the Curry mess.

"Does anyone want to see a person who's making the money that the newspapers say I'm making complaining, 'Woe is me, my life is terrible, and people are being unfair'?" he says in the Esquire interview. "No one would've had any patience for that. I wouldn’t have any patience for that. So you just shut up and go about doing your job and hope that people who know you well — your friends and your family — know what’s true."

Lauer has been notoriously tight-lipped about the circumstances that surrounded Curry's departure, though he did make a rare comment about it back in March.

"I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well," he 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."

Curry, meanwhile, has reportedly said her last days at "Today" were "torture."

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Related stories:

Ann Curry Wasn't Liked by Matt Lauer; NBC's 'Today' Star Nearly Jumped to ABC

Report: Anderson Cooper Asked to Replace Matt Lauer at 'Today'  

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