Matt Lauer: The Today Show is a ‘family’ & Ann Curry leaving wasn’t my fault at all

Matt Lauer

The fallout continues from last year’s unceremonious ousting of Ann Curry from her co-host spot on NBC’s “Today” show, and this is truly a blood bath if there ever was one in a morning show context. Due to Matt Lauer’s inability to hide his own fakeness and insincere attitude towards Ann, Matt is largely seen as the reason Ann was removed from her position and demoted to a global correspondent where she is rarely seen on-air. As a result, Lauer’s brand has taken a huge hit, and ratings are down. We’ve already heard some attempts at damage control, but it’s too late because even the “Today” staff hates Matt now.

So Matt sat down with the Daily Beast to try and patch up some of the ongoing bleeding that has resulted in “GMA” taking over the #1 ratings spot over the past several months with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos drawing 5.8 million viewers in comparison to 4.8 million for Today. Matt really doesn’t appear to understand why he’s catching a lot of the blame for Curry’s departure. While Matt freely acknowledges that he was against Ann’s promotion from the news desk in the first place, sources within the article make the half-hearted claim that he tried to convince NBC bosses to slow down the and give Ann more time before reducing her role, but they didn’t listen to him.

The article is rather comprehensive and includes details of how Matt had met with Katie Couric to basically beg her to come back to “Today.” What I don’t get is this — if Matt was so instrumental in reaching out to Katie on behalf of NBC execs, why does he think we’ll believe that he essentially had nothing to do with Ann’s ousting? Like, he’s saying that he had no authority to tell bosses to get rid of Ann, but we know better than that. Viewers even apparently yelled at him on the street about his role in the process, but Lauer still maintains that none of this mess was his doing and that, further, it was the NBC bosses’ idea to buffer Ann’s departure with the notion that it was her idea. That she wanted to “return to her first love, which is reporting.” What a mess, right? Here are some excerpts from the Beast’s talk with Matt:

Matt Lauer

On the onset of post-Curry backlash: “It was a hard time for everybody. We were getting kicked around a lot. Some of it was self-inflicted and perhaps deserved. I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well. You do’’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.”

He’s sad but wants to make a new “Today” show: “I’m not going to whine or get depressed. Who’s going to feel sorry for me? Nobody.” Besides, he says, “I am the luckiest guy I know. In some ways being No. 2 in the ratings is a real shot in the arm, a kick in the pants. It makes you hungrier … I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a fire lit under your ass.”

Lauer says he tried to warn Ann: “Lauer and Curry had a candid talk over lunch at the Four Seasons. He acknowledged she hadn’t been his first choice for co-host, but said that was in the past. Curry said that both Lauer and the show would take a hit if she was thrown overboard, and he agreed. Lauer suggested that she try to get a meeting with Burke and resolve the situation. He also advised Curry, who didn’t employ an agent, to hire one quickly.”

Viewers expressed their displeasure directly to Matt: People would stop Lauer on the street and complain about Curry’s banishment. While Lauer was riding in a London elevator at the Olympics, an American woman got on, saw him and said: “I hate what you’ve done. I will never watch you again.” Such incidents left him shaken.

[From The Daily Beast]

Of course, everyone who watched Ann cry on her last day as co-host knows very well that her demotion was not her choice. The NBC execs just didn’t consider that morning show viewers grow very attached to the same faces — Ann was with “Today” for 15 years as a correspondent, then as news anchor, and finally as co-host. While Ann was good on the news desk, she didn’t have the right tone to be a co-host; yet to replace her with milquetoast Samantha Guthrie was a ridiculous move, and I honestly can’t believe they couldn’t find anyone better. Some of the local news anchors in my city have more personality than this chick. Anyway, the viewers were very partial to Ann even if her interviewing skills weren’t so great, and NBC (with key involvement from Lauer) really messed up in a possibly irrepairable way with her sudden departure. Suck it, Matt.

Matt Lauer

Matt Lauer

Photos courtesy of Pacific Coast News and WENN

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81 Responses to “Matt Lauer: The Today Show is a ‘family’ & Ann Curry leaving wasn’t my fault at all”

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  1. The Original G says:

    It’s just time for a new team and a new show. I know he’s used to being the golden boy, but times change. Boo Hoo.

  2. Rachel says:

    He doesn’t say they are a family. He’s only says they’re *seen* as a family. Which is one of the best examples of prevarication I’ve ever seen.

    Also, no one tunes into GMA for George. We tune in for JOSH!!

  3. Rhea says:

    “Matt really doesn’t appear to understand why he’s catching a lot of the blame for Curry’s departure”

    —->Right….maybe he doesn’t understand it either why there’s a gossip circulating around about him cheating. -_-

  4. WTF says:

    Isnt it a little late for him to be speaking out? Sounds to me like he’s just tired of people yelling at him in elevators.

    • Jane says:

      He threw his “sister” under the bus, backed-up, ran over her again and left tread marks, but somehow, after nearly a year, he feels the need to speak out in her support and blame it on the suits of NBC!?!?!

      Not buying it for a nano second.

    • marie says:

      ha ha, I’d like to be one of those people passing him on the street saying “F-ck you Matt Lauer”.. also maybe, “Matt Lauer can suck it!” (one of the only funny parts of that movie)

    • Caroline-Vivienne says:

      Exactly. He finally realizes the extent of the damage his reputation has suffered, by his humiliating treatment of Ann.

      So now he is desperately trying to deflect blame to look like a nice guy.

      And NBC is helping to rehabilitate his reputation, since they see a drop in the Today Show ratings and think it’s due to Matt’s unpopularity/unlikeability.

  5. Stormy says:

    It is definitely reap what you sow shade most people are throwing at Matt Laurer. He did get Ann Curry fired, heck even Ann said as much on her last day on the air. He can suck it.

  6. KellyinSeattle says:

    His ego seems huge.

  7. Amy says:

    He is such a BSer. I love that random people are stopping him in the streets and calling him out. No one likes you anymore, Matt.

  8. Erinn says:

    I’m sorry, but Ann leaving isn’t solely because of Matt. He might have a certain amount of say in the matter, but at the end of the day, he wasn’t the one who let her go.

  9. Ko says:

    NBC has had the worst fiascos the last few years – Conan-Leno; in my opinion, their handling Community; the Olympics coverage and closing ceremony; and this Today show. Doesn’t anyone take notes at that company?

    • Miss M says:

      This! The Olympics coverage was the final awakening for me.

      I have been doing data analysis since yesterday. Sorry for being cynical, but… In my opinion, Lauer is only talking about it because it hurt his image. That’s all.

    • Itsa Reallyme says:

      Remind me what happened with the closing ceremonies. I can’t remember.

      • my .02 says:

        It was the opening ceremonies, when they tape-delayed and then edited the hell out of it so they could cram as many commercials as possible into the broadcast. Add on the inane, ignorant commentary of Matt Lauer and I’m still PO’d that I never got to see the whole of the ceremony.

        That pissed off a lot of people.

      • booboocita says:

        One of the most moving moments of the opening ceremonies — the tribute to the victims of the 7/7 Tube and bus terrorist attacks — was completely excised from the US broadcast so Matt could do an entirely pointless interview of Michael Phelps. Emeli Sande sang a version of “Abide With Me” that had me in tears, and the accompanying dance was mesmerizing. And instead of watching it on my widescreen, I had to watch it on YouTube. Dammit, Matt …

    • Anan says:

      Ko, I could not agree more. NBC is great at causing self inflicted PR nightmares. You would think they would learn but nope.
      •David letterman v Leno in 91(?)
      •Conan v Leno in 2010
      •The Olympics
      •Community disaster
      •Today show mess (Ann curry firing)

      The list goes on. NBC treats their talent horribly. How Lauer and NBC execs treated Curry was horrible. After the Conan- Leno debacle and the Olympics coverage, I just stopped watching NBC… The exception was the finial episode of 30 Rock

  10. the original rachel says:

    Uh oh. There’s another Rachel. Although the other Rachel appears to have a fine vocabulary, I need to change my screen name. In case she ever says something I can’t stand behind, like: “I hate Benedict Cumberbatch.” We wouldn’t want that! Following the tradition on this site, I am becoming the original rachel. (Although I don’t know if I’m the original one.)

  11. aims says:

    Anne was treated badly, period. She had been with the today show for a long time, and deserved respect.

  12. Debbie says:

    This is the same guy who says “oh sure, I’m married, but we’re soooo unhappy, and I’m certain I could find happiness in your vagina, random stranger” or whatever his standard line is, right?

    • Itsa Reallyme says:

      Exactly. I saw Katie Couric on WWHL before this happened and Andy asked her what she didn’t miss about Matt Lauer. She said–with a completely straight face so I don’t think she was joking, at all–I don’t miss Matt grabbing my ass all the time.
      I think he’s a slimeball.

  13. Caroline-Vivienne says:

    Matt being Matt. Watching out for Matt.

  14. Dee Cee says:

    Ruh Roh, My fabulous best head news-star popularity is in danger.. too many people noticed I’m a petty-mind, jealous, mean-spirited, no talent.. personal gain grabbing hack giving no fair credit to others with no conscience.. smarmy, gloating sneaky backstabbing dirty dog..

  15. The Original Mia says:

    Dis bitch! He knows damn well he forced her out. All you have to do is look at the pictures from her final show. She could barely tolerate his fake hug. He needs to go away.

  16. Aqua says:

    I haven’t watched The Today Show since Ann Curry got demoted. I’ve switched over to GMA.

    • MsGoblin says:

      Me, too.

      I never liked the way Ann Curry interviewed; it drove me crazy. But I will not support a show that handled a firing the way they did.

      No, it wasn’t personal, it was business. But when business balances precariously on public opinion,as does The Today Show, it needs to be handled with more finesse than they demonstrated.

  17. BreeinSEA says:

    He seems like the most insensitive person on television. He appears slimy and always cuts people off. Be sure to see him side eying anyone who talks over him. Al does it all the time. I dont like that guy one bit.

  18. lucy2 says:

    Ann might not have been the right fit for that position, but she seems like a genuinely nice person, and the audience did not want to watch her get dumped on to the point of crying because the “star” wanted her gone. I don’t know why that’s so surprising to Matt or anyone else there. They blew it, now they have to deal with it.

  19. Itsa Reallyme says:

    I love Ann. She’s a serious journalist and I have a lot of respect for her. If the ratings were down, then I have no problem with them replacing her. HOWEVER, the way it was done was total BS! Meredith left and was given a 2 week sendoff. Ann was there a lot longer and got a swift kick out the door, the morning of her firing. It was gross and awkward. I REALLY hope that Matt receives the same treatment and that Willie Geist will replace him. I really enjoy the days that Matt isn’t there and Willie is.

  20. Izzy says:

    This man just hits the high end of my Douchenozzle Meter.

  21. bea says:

    Obvsly, Matt and NBC thought they could get away with giving Ann the heave-ho without incident, but it didn’t work out that way.

    Someone at NBC is trying to save his ass by making ML seem sympathetic and justify the $25 MILLION per year he’s paid. I’m sure ML just wants to keep on making that mad money too.

    “Too bad” for them it’s too little, too late. He needed to speak up immediately, but he didn’t. He guess he didn’t count on Ann having so many supporters or him seeming like such a cold jerk. I hope he ends up hosting Bachelor or something equally hideous. Ann should stick to real news bc she was a little stiff in the celebrity interviews.

  22. Ginger says:

    Gimme a break!! Work is NOT family…I hate that saying! Unless you are in a family business with your relatives…saying this is stupid. They are your co workers. Period. You can be friends with them but they are not family. And if you treat your coworkers like crap it’s going to come back to bite you. You shouldn’t mess with your livelihood…this is common sense. Apparently he’s too egotistical to have any sense.

    • OutstandingWorldCitizen says:

      Exactly some arse hole came up with that Work is Family because they don’t either have family of their own OR like some managers like to have extremely uneven (abusive) relationships with their subordinates. I do not play that game. We are colleagues not blood. I don’t want you in my life unless I give you permission.

      My rant is over, but I will say the smarminess of talking heads repulse me. I do not watch any morning shoes. Matt is a douche by all accounts. He DEFINITELY was a intricate part of Ann’s firing. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous and more douchey.

      Yes she was slightly cloying. I caught clips of her on line or on the The Soup but was she more annoying than other morning show journalists? NO!

    • Suze says:

      That isn’t exactly what he said, though.

      Saying the Today Show crew was *seen as a family* is a different thing altogether. He’s talking about the audience perception of the Today Show on air people, not how he – or anyone on the show – feels about their coworkers.

      I haven’t heard the saying “Work is family” used seriously in many many years – well, outside of poor deluded Michael Scott on “The Office”, and that was a comment on his character.

      I’m not defending Lauer, though. He acted like an ass in that situation and deserves the bad karma raining down on his head.

  23. Frenchie says:

    Damage control! Too late Matt !

  24. Celia says:

    I am a lifelong viewer of the Today show, and I can’t get over the way it has deteriorated;it’s like a tabloid show with a cooking segment thrown in for good measure. I was never a fan of Ann Curry, but it was wrong the way she was given the boot and she should have been treated with respect. As far as Matt Laurer goes, there’s something about him that turns me off and I don’t know what it is.

    By the way, I watched GMA for the first time this morning and I loved it.

  25. scarlett says:

    Matt Lauer is all about self-preservation.Why is considered such a “valuable” asset to the Today Show is beyond me. If the ratings don’t pick up..look for him to be phased out and replaced.

  26. maroline says:

    it speaks to our lackluster interest in guthrie that no one has yet mentioned that her name is savannah, not samantha as mentioned… the poor girl is sweet and certainly looks and acts the part of perky morning show anchor, but i don’t see many loyalists jumping up to defend her, or even insist that this story gets her name right! team couric 4-eva.

  27. hoya_chick says:

    He is the worst! No one is saying that Ann was the best co-anchor ever, but the way they treated her was deplorable! Especially after all the years she was with that show. I am glad they are being beaten in the rating! It’s karma, that show sucks I haven’t watched it in any regularity in at least 10 years. I despise NBC. I really enjoy Parks and Rec and Community though, and I am not one to bite off my nose to spite my face so I will continue to watch those 2 shows on On Demand. Nothing else.

    He is only trying to save face now, but we all saw what a d-bag he was to her. And NBC keeps making it worse. They barely put her on the air, and she has a non compete clause in her contract so she can’t go and work for another network. Shameful. And that Samantha Guthrie is insufferable, seriously from what I have seen she has no presence or charisma at all—also where is her top lip??!

  28. Loulou says:

    Ann Curry should sue him. If the info is right and his contract contains a clause where she had to be fired before he renewed, I’d be out for blood. I’ve never seen a professional’s career so publicly derailed as what that network has done to her. It’s misogynistic, sadistic and plain boorish.

  29. NeoCleo says:

    I have never liked that smarmy a-hole.

  30. anneesezz says:

    You’re glib, Matt.

    Honestly, I never liked any of them, including Meredith.

  31. Alexa says:

    Really Matt – you ARE glib. (You beat me to it, anneesezz! ;-)

  32. abbizmal says:

    He looks a bit like Michael Lohan. I thought that’s who this article was about. Oops.

  33. Starllight says:

    Why didn’t he say so before when Ann left the show. Why say it now?

  34. valleymiss says:

    I don’t think Matt/the Today show can recover from this. Matt can try to spin it and blame NBC, but once you breach that trust with your audience, you’re done. He was so great for such a long time, but then he started believing his own hype and became so arrogant. I can’t see any viewers who left returning to Today. In fact, I see an eventual fall to #3 in the ratings.

  35. babythestarsshinebrite says:

    I love Ann but I think GMA is a much better morning show. I mean Robin Roberts is just lovely.

  36. Dirtnap says:

    I guess I shouldn’t expect any different from Matt. He is a graduate of the Bryant Gumbel School of Douche. I can only imagine the schemes they schemed during their golf games together in the early days.

  37. Feebee says:

    I don’t believe a word of it. It’s a superb piece of revisionist history, if I’m using the term correctly.

    He hasn’t come out before now because I think he thought that if nothing was said and they just got on with it then it would all blow over. Well guess what Lauer? Maybe Today Show viewers and the rest of us are sick of assholes winning all the time.

  38. Mac says:

    Former TODAY co-anchor Ann Curry is locked in a battle with NBC executives as she attempts to extricate herself from her contract to take a job at CNN.

    NBC is insisting that Ann stay off the air for six months in exchange for releasing her from her contract, that term is unacceptable to the popular journalist, who wants to join CNN as soon as possible.

    “There has been a break in the on-going stand-off between NBC and Ann,”

    “Ann’s bosses weren’t willing to let her out of her contract so she could accept a job at CNN. However, they now recognize it’s probably for the best, and Matt Lauer chimed in and said it would be a good idea as well.”

    But now the battle is over how much time Ann must spend sidelined.

  39. Ann Carter says:

    NEVER EVER GOT HIM AT ALL. EVER. He forgot the most important part of television: WARMTH trumps SLICK every time. Ann=WARM Matt= cold, aloof and SLICK. Time for you to take some of your own medicine.

  40. Bridget says:

    I stopped watching Today long before this whole thin happened, but it definitely is an excellent example of what’s wrong with the show. Whomever is in charge there has NO IDEA what they’re doing. All the reality stars? Yuck. The cooking segments, the internet clips, the fad of the moment? No thanks. Somehow NBC has gone out of their way to put together the blandest morning show team possible – there’s something that bugs me about the thin, super made-up, tan ladies that are the news team. They feel so interchangeable.

  41. MinnFinn says:

    Lauer is a lecherous, mean a**hole.

    Stopped watching Today show years ago. I now favor Charlie Rose et al because their segments are longer/more in depth and because Charlie and Gail ask good questions.

    I was neutral about Lauer but that changed to dislike because of his role in Curry’s departure then changed again to abhorrance because he and sometimes Al act like schoolboys with a crush around Savannah Guthrie. Saw a clip recently of Matt and Al childishly albeit disrespectfully teasing Savannah about her fear of frogs. Misogynists are calling the shots at the Today show.

  42. DianeP says:

    Matt badly deserves to receive the same “Today” show exit that Ann Curry got. Al is the only one worth keeping.

  43. janie says:

    I watched the show for years.. Huge fan! I can’t stomach the man! It broke my heart to see Ann struggle thru tears on her last day, i cried with her. If he had no part in this, why is he “giving interviews”? Why now? He is such a dick!! Fire his ass & then humilate him the way he did to Ann! Let’s see how many women he can bag, if he has no Anchor gig? Can we all say ZERO!! Reap what you sow…..

  44. Apsutter says:

    GMA taking over is a BIG DEAL…Matt better watch it because I could see him easily being replaced. I think this was the first time 20 years that GMA has been consistently beating them Today. Matt should be aware that his situation is a precarious one because NBC is going to desperately try to get back into first and the know it doesn’t take long for people’s viewing habits to develop. Once a long time show starts slipping its hard to get back on top.

  45. Jean says:

    I can’t watch his show anymore. I loved it before. Hopefully, some fresh new start will happen to move on…it ‘s a tired echo from this story, spin and all. He really should reflect and someone should have the difficult but necessary conversation of ” taking one for the team ” now. He doesn’t seem the type to ever take the high road or step up to any share of this current state of Good Morning America pulling ahead. GMA is great, I just always watched Today before but not anymore. The way he speaks now grates on me, can’t figure out why. I tnought he was so funny and charming, now, just UGH!

  46. martin says:

    Hey, Matt Lauer!?


    You telling the truth is as likely as your head growing hair!!!


    Hey, Matt Lauer!?


    With total disrespect for your persistent and fraudulent lies,


  47. Ems says:

    Matt has wanted to majorly f*** Savannah from the beginning, that’s why they hired her. Just look at that picture! All the nonsense about the affair with Meredith is to cover up his Savannah boner. Am I the only one who sees this?

  48. Bored suburbanhousewife says:

    I stopped with Today because first doucgebag Gumbel followed by the insufferably perky Katie plus douchebag reptile Lauer. Tried with Scarborough cause I liked Willie & some of his guests but finally could no longer stand to watch the dimwitted poser Mica Brezinski strutting around virtually screaming “aren’t I pretty? Aren’t I so sexy” Look at my toned arms in my sleeveless dress while all the men are wearing wool sweaters!” ” gee us pretty princesses have such a tough time succeeding in this mean old male dominated business”.

    Gave up and now just listen to NPR. Much more interesting for the brain.