In an effort to prevent Matt Lauer from leaving the Today show and joining Katie Couric on a syndicated show for ABC in 2012, NBC offered Lauer a reported $25 million annually to stay on four days per week, New York magazine says in a cover story detailing the collapse of the NBC morning show. Lauer himself told the magazine that cohost Anne Curry's name never came up in those negotiations, but by that time, it reports, top NBC execs had already determined that Curry should be removed if Lauer remained. With his leverage at the time, Lauer, the magazine observes, could easily have saved her, but he didn't. To the contrary, in signing a new contract to remain at the show for at least two more years, he tacitly ratified the plan to remove her. Ironically, says New York, a study conducted for the network had earlier determined that Lauer was less popular with the audience than Curry. According to an NBC executive familiar with the study, viewers regarded him as aloof, a little bit holier-than-thou and pompous. The exec added: He was becoming [former Today host] Bryant Gumbel.