Matt Lauer’s ‘brand is damaged’ and he’s dragging down Today Show’s ratings

As you’ve probably heard, The Today Show’s ratings have only fallen since Ann Curry was replaced as co-anchor by Savannah Guthrie. Curry was summarily dumped because Matt Lauer didn’t want her around and she was an easy scapegoat for the morning show’s falling viewership. Now that ratings continue to drop, someone needs to take the blame and it’s falling squarely on Matt Lauer’s overinflated head. An former insider at NBC tells The NY Daily News that Matt Lauer needs to step down in order to save the show. After how he treated Ann, his “brand is damaged” and there’s nothing they can do to fix it. How does the shoe feel on the other foot, Matt?

TV industry insiders say no amount of NBC executive reshuffling can save the embattled “Today” show — until its longtime co-host throws in the towel.

Lauer has been blamed for the show’s ratings woes, which intensified in June when co-host Ann Curry was suddenly ditched and replaced by Savannah Guthrie.

“This problem is not going to go away until Matt Lauer does,” a prominent former NBC News exec told the Daily News on Tuesday. “He’s great, but fairly or unfairly, his brand is damaged.”

The sentiment comes just as a new production team is poised to take over “Today,” which has fallen into second place this year behind archrival “Good Morning America” in the cutthroat ratings race.

Alexandra Wallace, 46, a TV news veteran with morning show experience and a senior vice president at NBC News, will take charge of the show in the near future. She will appoint a new executive producer to replace Jim Bell, who has been running “Today” since 2005.

Bell was behind the unceremonious ouster of Curry.

Competitors like ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning” are celebrating the move, claiming that Wallace is no turnaround expert.

“Nothing’s changed here,” an industry competitor said of Wallace, a mother of two young children.

“She was put in charge of (Brian Williams’ prime-time magazine) ‘Rock Center’ just earlier this year, and they’re still rock bottom in prime time.” As a top executive at NBC News, she has also had a hand in the slow-motion “Today” ratings collapse.

“They just keep throwing layers of management on this problem,” another competitor said.

[From The NY Daily News]

It’s worth noting that the source here is a “former” NBC executive, and that Matt might still have the current execs under his creepy spell. Someone must like him over there to have put up with his ego and (alleged!) infidelities with female co-workers.

Radar has a related story today that suggests that may no longer be the case. They say that Matt is butting heads with his new boss, Andrea Wallace (mentioned in the article above), and that she isn’t firmly in his corner. Apparently Wallace is mixing things up in an attempt to boost ratings and she’s “a big advocate of Ann Curry’s.” She’s replacing the guy who pushed Curry out (allegedly!) at Matt’s urging. This guy has needed an ego check for years and it looks like it’s finally coming.

Matt Lauer is shown out on 7-17-12 (credit: Hector Vallenilla, and grabbing up on Pink on 9-18-12. Photo with Savannah Guthrie is from 8-23 (credit: Dan Jackman./

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

74 Responses to “Matt Lauer’s ‘brand is damaged’ and he’s dragging down Today Show’s ratings”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. The Original Tiffany says:

    Still looks like a smug AND glib douche. Who knew TC would be right about something!

  2. Ann says:

    Matt is not young and cute like he once was. Yet noone replaces him because of that. But the women, who are well liked, keep getting replaced with younger, perkier models. And yet Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts are stronger than ever over at ABC.

    Maybe NBC needs to wake up to this fact. Morning viewers want to see women they can relate to. Women who are smart, and that they respect.

  3. sunnyinseattle says:

    The downfall of Matt. Could we be so lucky, or is he the Lindsey Lohan of morning talk shows? ;-)

  4. Sam says:

    I wasn’t a huge fan of Ann Curry (I think she had a tendency to softball interview questions), but Matt Laurer is worse. You always get the impression that he’s interviewing himself. Like the other person is just there as a foil, and he’s making it about him. Savannah isn’t too bad, but again, she’s basically there to make Matt look better. Maybe that’s the show’s problem – they can’t get any excellent people, because then Matt might not look as good. Self-defeating cycle.

    • Caroline says:

      100% correct. Ann Curry was a sycophant to celebs and still sucked at the morning-show soft stuff. She did have to go, but not in the way that it went down, which is now dragging down everyone that had a hand in it (or so it seems).

      Lauer was only good with strong women like Meredith Viera or even redonk Katie Couric, who could stand up to him (esp Meredith). This “former exec” is correct in that his brand is permanently damaged. Sayonara.

  5. Riana says:

    I was just going to mention Andrea being newly appointed.

    At the end of the day the truth is the only thing they care about is money: When they thought Curry was hurting their money they kicked her out like old garbage. Now that they think Matt is…

    There’s 0 loyalty, and now there’s no one else to scape goat. Matt better start jumping through hoops. They loved him only so long as he was making money, now they’re likely to make his life miserable.

  6. bea says:

    I feel (a little) bad about how happy that makes me.

    Now, if only Ann Curry could get the job she deserves…..

  7. mln76 says:

    He’s been there way too long. Pretty obvious that no one would take him seriously as a serious news anchor Tom Cruise was right about one thing Matt is glib.

  8. MG says:

    I used to love him…now…not so much. I hope he gets the boot!

  9. Dorothy says:

    Time to hit the road Matt. Goodbye.

  10. Justaposter says:

    I watch GMA in the mornings but promised my 13 year old daughter to tape One Direction yesterday.

    Let’s just say, that when you are releaved when One Direction actually performs.. you know the show is major trouble.

  11. TheOneAndOnlyOnly says:

    Love the first pic, but this really shows that idiots run most of our popular entertainment media – the entire Today show, such as it is, could be condensed into about 15 minutes – really featuring silliness like One Direction – is there any purpose to this dreck other than filling air time? I personally prefer low key Charlie rose on CBS.

    • MNFinn says:

      Lauer has a thing for Savannah Guthrie but she keeps him an arm’s length away. She always looks guarded and slightly uncomfortable with him.

      Charlie and Gayle on CBS are the best. Not so much Nora. Plus I like that CBS goes deeper into stories.

  12. LeeLoo says:

    GMA’s hosts are like family. They are very close knit and that’s what viewers love. The fractured relationships at Today are pretty obvious. NBC needs to shoulder the blame of what happened because they allowed the situation with Matt to happen. Someone in production should have put him in his place a long time ago. I think after the November sweeps and NBC will begin the process of firing him and paying out his contract. They will make more money doing that than keeping his inflated ego around.

  13. Jess says:

    Yay! This story makes me happy!

  14. QQ says:

    Ann REALLY had to go before she gave us a massive rage stroke BUT THAT SAID: Matt is a diva and you can smell it, you can also see the simmering cattiness in between everyone when the four are together and is all around Matt

    I think is awesome when they have Willie Geist ( Nom nom nom) and David Gregory (more eating noises!) , the way i see it they are testing them for the ousting of Matt, I like that Willie is Bitchy and Opinionated (does anyone remember “It’s too early for this” with his stone face!?!) and David is FUN and smart and he wasnt above Gangam styling it with a dog on air!

    • Me Too says:

      If you all thought Ann soft balled her interviews, David Gregory takes that to a new level. He’s a jerk frankly, and if they replace Matt with him, they’ll continue to lose in the ratings. He’s one of those “journalists” who only go after a person who is down–in the midst of a controversy etc. Anybody with power, he sucks up to better than any single “reporter” out there. We play a drinking game with Meet the Press and by the end of the hour, we are pretty much toast.

      • Miasmom says:

        I’m with you….me to! Gregory has a reputation as a world class a$$ kisser. Russert apparently wanted
        Chuck Todd to replace him but got out maneuvered by Gregory. Whille I wasn’t supportive of Imus’s gaffe I’ve never seen anyone hot foot it out of a relationship quite like Gregory did. I find that kind of preservation gross..

  15. Anon says:

    The ‘Today’ show jumped the shark long ago when they let Kate Gosselin get on there and whine and lie every other week. Same for ‘People’ magazine when they put her on the cover all the time.
    Isn’t it strange how most of the country can know when a person is lying before the media refusing to stop spinning for liars? (not just NBC)

  16. TQB says:

    “Nothing’s changed here,” an industry competitor said of Wallace, a mother of two young children.

    EXCUSE ME? Why is her status as a parent relevant? Why is no one jumping on this? This quote would never have been written about a father.

    • Ok says:

      You know……you have an excellent point. WTF is that about. I just zipped right by that little tidbit. But now that you mention it, who gives a rats ass if the new boss is a mom of young kids

    • Me Too says:

      And of course the implication here is that she won’t do as good a job as a man because…good God…she’s got kids! It’s also a backhand way to get away with a sexist comment without just coming out and saying she’s a woman and so won’t do a good job. So tired of these smart as$Ed cocky (probably white guys) who run our corporations, for their good and not ours!

    • Lisa says:

      lol, it’s a new thing. In a weird, backwards trend, women are still being identified by their role as a mother above everything else. Anderson Cooper introduced a woman on his show as “a mother and a CEO of her own company.” HELLO, she’s a CEO! Celebrate that title!

      Plenty of women intro themselves the same way. “Well, I’m a mom, and a mommy-blogger,and a sword eating competitor, and banana bread enthusiast, and…”

      • Becky1 says:

        Very true! I don’t remember the whole identifying a woman as a mother first being such a thing 10 or 15 years ago. It seems to be something that’s really taken off in the last couple of years. If a woman who’s a mother is involved in a news story (that has nothing to do with her kids) a lot of times they’ll say “a 30 year old mother of two” instead of just saying “a 30 year old woman.” They don’t do that with men.

      • Me Too says:

        God you’re right! On the local news today they did exactly what you described–Mother of two wins city council election. Thing is she’s a well known attorney as well. Weird! Another reason I don’t do mainstream journalism much anymore, or at least find my news in lots of different places.

        Don’t get why sexism is so prevalent these days except we have somehow given in to the whole have to be sexy in everything we do movement. I mean my Mom didn’t have to worry about a perky butt, perky boobs, defined arms, abs, long thick hair and cleavage. Jesus! Kill me now!

  17. sinjin says:

    honestly i have no clue who this guy is i dont really like to watch tv much anymore since they have taken all the good shows off like CSI MIAMI,ZENA,HERCULES,BUFFY,ANGEL,CHARMED,PLUS OTHERS AND REPLACING THEM WITH CRAP…ive noticed a trend that has me quite puzzled what the hell are all the zombie movies for .they really dont make any sense

  18. Lila says:

    When the best part of the show is watching Kathie Lee and Hoda drunk and giggling, you know there’s a problem.

  19. erika says:

    she’s wierd looking…

    i heard that matt l. will get a huge cut in salary if their ratings don’t jump up soon….good, hit em where it hurts.

    and speaking of being a dick, why aren’t they pressuring matt to get hair implants? those lil squeaker grey hairs just struggling to sprout are super unattactrive…

    more unattractive than an ageing reporter— you kick beautiful anne curry out the door yet your ugly bald eagle stays?

    i think he needs a sit down w/ tom cruise…that would be payback enough! “BUT MATT!!! MATT! YOU DON’T KNOW the TRUTH!!!”

    • Me Too says:

      The double standard lives! Love that Ann Curry who is beautiful is considered beyond her prime but Matt Lauer who, if we base everything on looks as they seem to do for women, is not pretty, is given a huge salary package.

      Look at Hollywood; a woman hits her 30′s and she starts losing romantic leads. Instead, a young 20 something is matched with a 40+ year old actor. There are a few exceptions; women who are such amazing actors they’ve managed to keep working because they do work that can’t be done by a 20 year old barbie doll–Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren.

      For the most part, however, once you hit 40, you’re out. And Clint Eastwood is still playing romantic leads at 60+ when he did Absolute Power. Don’t get me wrong–I think that’s great but it should be the same for women!

  20. DianeP says:

    About time! Matt is an egocentric jerk who deserves the same treatment poor Ann Curry got.

  21. Jocelyn says:

    I can’t stand him. I haven’t liked him in years. I thought Ann Curry got treated horribly by him and NBC. I am so glad it is coming back to bite him, the Today Show, and NBC in the butt.

  22. Sweet Dee says:

    Christ on sale, is anyone ever going to fix Savannah’s hair? Please someone, fix her creepy grease mullet.

    Also, is it Andrea or Alexandra Wallace?

    Thirdly, I hope this makes NBC think twice about ever giving someone a contract like Lauer has again, where he can’t be fired. You KNOW they’re kicking themselves for that. All the ladies used to love Matt, so NBC was all “yeah, this will last 4eva!” and gave him a contract saying it was fine if he ran the show while taking a dump on everyone’s career who dared work there unless they bang him. Smart move.

  23. The Original Victoria says:

    He is so unattractive. Team GMA all day everyday since 1988. Joan London and Charlie Gibson foeva biotches!

  24. The Other Katherine says:

    I was hoping that, after the first 2 pictures of Lauer sucking up to Pink, that there would be a 3rd one where she hit him in the face with the microphone. Ah well, wishful thinking….

  25. Nina says:

    Who the f*ck is Savannah Guthrie? And why doesn’t NBC hire someone to help her with her hair and make-up? It’s worse than awful.

    • Me Too says:

      I feel sorry for Savannah. She was put into a bad position when they fired Ann Curry the way they did. Don’t know about her hair but she’s actually a pretty good journalist and wasted on this show.

      She was an attorney and has a really good grip on how to explain legal things to us regular people. She is also not afraid to actually ask follow up questions…or at least she was good when she was an NBC reporter. Think she’s getting a bad rap.

  26. Lisa says:

    I hate Matt Lauer sooooo much. The whole Today Show cast is super annoying.

  27. The Original Victoria says:

    Vouge is painting Savannah as this supersmart, super intuitive journalist that asks all the right questions. And I’m like, “What!?!?” Did you not see the Olympics.

    Seriously, Katie made Matt look good and that’s not saying a whole lot. Today’s era is over. I personally love Charlie Rose and Gayle King as a second option if I don’t see GMA.

    And Hoda and Kathie Lee are hilarious.

    • Me Too says:

      Savannah is actually a decent journalist; she’s just not good in the role they’ve put her. She’s a real journalist, not an entertainment reporter. They’re wasting her on the Today Show. They need a chatty Katie type of person for that role. Savannah is smart and in the past has done some good interviews of politicians etc. I haven’t watched her on the Today Show so don’t know how she’s doing but would bet she’s really uncomfortable with the format.

      • Sugar says:

        ooh I bet we would witness the steam coming out of his ears if some bubbly gal sat next to him completely void of his comments & or presence like as if “who are you again oh yeah Matt Lauer & as I was saying…”
        he’s a control freak to infinity & beyond & a carefree roll with it co anchor would probably cause his engine to seize.

  28. silly you says:

    i read that headline as, ‘Matt Lauer’s BRAIN is damaged’…which is also true. i think ann curry just said, ‘BOOM, bitch’!

  29. Suze says:

    It all went down the tubes when Viera left.

    That show needs a strong female presence to work.

    And Lauer hasn’t been good looking for a long time, which wouldn’t matter if he hadn’t traded on his handsomeness for a long, long time.

    Honestly, we just saw a 9/11 clip of the Today Show recently and when Lauer came on the screen with a full head of dark hair I turned to my husband and asked, “Who the hell is that?”

  30. Ellie66 says:

    Poor Pink she had to endure a pervy hug from him. Gawk he is so creepy! Trump and he should go away forever!

  31. silly you says:

    i read that headline as, ‘Matt Lauer’s BRAIN is damaged’…which is also true.

  32. Jana says:

    Willie Geist will be Matt’s replacement~~mark my words!!

  33. Ms, candy says:

    Oh well bye bye don’t let the door hit u on the way out….
    Don’t watch their show on the regular

  34. Ally8 says:

    You can’t be a male newscaster on American TV without a full head of hair.

    That sad sack scalp + his douche personality will cost him the job. Hopefully.

    I’ve loathed him since the civil war in Yugoslavia, when he berated an army person asking why the public TV station there wasn’t being bombed. A ‘journalist’ insisting that bombs be dropped on other journalists. Amazing.

  35. s says:

    I kind of disagree about ousting Lauer. If NBC does that, that could possibly generate sympathy for him and lots of publicity which would probably lead to a better job doing another show.

    I say, let Lauer stay on the show while it slowly degrades in ratings and more people (privately and publicly) snigger at this performance and complete lack of humility.

  36. darth says:

    This guy has always been the reason I can’t watch that show. Can’t stand how pleased with himself he always is. He’s bald and has a huge schnoz. Where exactly did his ego come from???

  37. Ms.Martin says:

    I see Matt Lauer all the time, I live in Sag Harbor,N.Y. Let me tell you this guy is an arrogant pompous ass!!!!! And it’s absolutely sickening to watch people swoon over him! And believe me he eats it up!!!! And his wife looks like a zombie. He’s looooong past his prime. If he were a woman he would have been fired 10 years ago!!!!!!!!!