Matt Lauer clearly has regrets over the way Today handled Ann Curry's exit.
It's taken him far too long, though Matt Lauer has finally opened up about the firing of Ann Curry, his former Today co-host who was replaced by Savannah Guthrie. NBC caused outrage after appearing to coax Curry out of the door, and Lauer accepts that much of the criticism was justified.
"It was a hard time for everybody," Lauer told The Daily Beast, almost a year to the day that Curry left the show. "We were getting kicked around a lot. Some of it was self-inflicted and perhaps deserved." The host - one of the highest paid on television - concedes the transitional period was not handled properly. "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."
Today has suffered from the mis-management, taking a backseat in the ratings to big rival Good Morning America, something Lauer suggests could be a good thing. "In some ways being No. 2 in the ratings is a real shot in the arm, a kick in the pants," he explained. "It makes you hungrier...I don't think it's a bad thing to have a fire lit under your ass."
A report by the New York Post this week suggested Lauer never wanted Curry to get the job in the first place, instead campaigning to get his old co-host Katie Couric to return instead. The veteran broadcaster was interested, though NBC bosses rejected the idea.
The fallout has been enough for Lauer to question his position on the show, which pays $25 million a year. "Matt is not happy," a source said. "He has started saying he wants to get out of 'Today.' "
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