Jim Bell, the executive producer of NBC's Today show, says that the increasing speculation that Matt Lauer will be leaving the show when his contract expires at the end of next year is "ludicrous." In an interview with today's (Friday) Hollywood Reporter, Bell remarked "When we're talking about something that is almost two years away, it's silly speculation." Bell was not nearly so assertive when it came to similar speculation that Meredith Vieira will also be leaving when her contract expires in September. "We're still talking," he told the trade publication. "We think she's fantastic and hope we'll have her with us." Earlier this month TV Guide reported that Vieira is weary of her early-morning schedule and wants to spend more time with her husband, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.