Will Matt Lauer only stay with ‘Today’ if Ann Curry gets the ax?

Matt Lauer Ann Curry

I know some of you don’t care about inside-the-media stories, but I find this stuff fascinating. And to be fair, people like Matt Lauer and Ryan Seacrest are celebrities in their own right too. Last week, New York Magazine had an interesting profile of NBC’s news division, Matt Lauer and Lauer’s “worth” to NBC Universal. Lauer’s contract with the Today Show is up next year, and if he chooses to renew, his new contract could be worth something like $50 million dollars for two more years. Interesting side note: Good Morning America is picking up serious steam in the ratings, and Meet the Press’s ratings have been crap since Tim Russert’s death (David Gregory just isn’t as good, honestly).

So, will Lauer stay with NBC and continue to be the centerpiece of NBC’s morning programming? If Lauer stays, sources think Ann Curry will definitely be on her way out as co-host. Curry is, at best, sycophantic and nervous, and at worst, incompetent and awful. It’s even being said that Lauer kind of hates Ann, and he’s really pushing her out. Until everything is settled, Lauer seems to be enjoying the speculation, which includes a rumor that Ryan Seacrest would and could “replace” Lauer on the Today Show. Seacrest was interviewed by Lauer this morning, and the whole interview was like a shadowy game of “Let’s whip them out and see whose is bigger?”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Is Matt Lauer heading out the door?

A lot of people have been making themselves at home in the Today show star’s dressing room this week. Tuesday, it was guest host Sarah Palin, who said she used Lauer’s hair product. Wednesday, it was Ryan Seacrest, who pretended to make off with Lauer’s briefcase.

The Palin plant was simply a gag. But the Seacrest appearance had a deeper meaning, amid swirling rumors that NBC brass is eyeing the American Idol host and media mogul to replace Lauer should Matt – whose contract reportedly expires next year – leave his NBC job.

In an on-air interview on Wednesday’s Today, Lauer, 54, asked Seacrest, 37, point-blank if he had had conversations with NBC, and demanded “names and dates.”

“Oh,” joked Seacrest, “they didn’t tell you?”

All kidding aside, and Lauer conceded that he thought Seacrest would do a great job as Today host, the bottom line was that Seacrest says he has spoken to four people at the network about possibly “filling in to do the weather” – which would be Al Roker’s job. Seacrest also said he will be expanding his already busy TV duties beyond what he also does for the E! Network – which is owned by NBC Universal – and participate in NBC’s primetime coverage of the Summer Olympics.

But what about Today? Seacrest told Lauer, “I see you doing this for as long as you want to.” Indeed, Seacrest asked, “How long do you intend to stay?”

It ended, as it began, graciously. “There is no tension here,” Lauer noted, along with the fact the two had recently discussed the matter over dinner – and that Lauer picked up the check. As well he might. Along with rumors about Seacrest someday replacing him, there have been published reports, though unconfirmed, that Lauer’s new contract with NBC will be worth $25 million a year.

[From People]

Blah. I don’t think Seacrest would or could take over for Lauer. Seacrest is fine (meh) as a host of entertainment shows, but NBC feels strongly about promoting people with a news-reporting background. Of course, look how that turned out with Ann Curry. So, Lauer will likely be staying with a giant contract, and NBC will be looking for a woman to replace Curry. Savannah Guthrie?

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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

47 Responses to “Will Matt Lauer only stay with ‘Today’ if Ann Curry gets the ax?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. valleymiss says:

    Ugh. I can’t see Seacrest interviewing Obama and that sorta stuff. He’s an airhead. He won’t be able to think on his feet when it comes to politics and hard hitting issues. He’ll be asking Bejamin Mubarak, “Who are you wearing? Seacrest – out!” It’ll be ridiculous.

    • Tory says:

      FYI…I think you mean Hosni Mubarak?

    • gg says:

      yeah, never. He has not the credibility.

      Good morning America makes me cringe most of the time. Even though Stephanopoulos has cred, he has zero substance, and the lady he works with, while a great role model, is really just not credible either. Put together, they spell W-I-M-P-Y SHOW.

  2. Bite me says:

    Natalie Morales 🙂

    • NotSoAnonymous says:

      I hope it’s Natalie. Ann Curry is what Taylor Swift is going to be like at 50 – all shocked, touching her hair, leaning in for no good reason and actin like a schoolgirl whenever she meets an attractive male celeb. Gross.

      As a side note? After watching Matt push Christie Brinkley into discussing her divorce during that supposed ‘Chicago’ interview, I’m starting to think Tom Cruise had a point about with that ‘glib’ comment. Matt has his own marital issues to be careful with – and he’s starting to come across as a real asshole of late.

      And now I will go take a burning hot shower for agreeing with Sarah Palin and Tom Cruise in the last 24 hours. Until I scrub my skin raw.

  3. Stubbylove says:

    Rock on Matt!! If this is true, hold your ground. Curry’s gotta go – she’s the worst. I don’t watch Today anymore and it’s b’cuz of Curry as co-host. She’s just not the right person for the job – needed to stay behind the news desk.

  4. LeeLoo says:

    With Seacrest? No. Matt will stay and NBC will cave in to any demand that he wants. They won’t risk losing him.

  5. KATY says:

    I feel exactly the same way you do Kaiser. I love Matt and even though Ryan is ok (meh) he will never be able to take Matt’s place on the today show.

  6. brin says:

    These shows do a lot of tabloid stuff so Ryan wouldn’t be a stretch, but Ann Curry really is awful to watch.

  7. JudyK says:

    I can’t imagine having to look at Seacrest’s mug everyday…if that happens, I’ll be switching networks.

    As far as Ann Curry, used to like her but don’t like her as a co-host…the chemistry between Matt and her is not there.

    Savannah Guthrie is great…co-host, I don’t know…maybe?

    • The Bobster says:

      The problem I have with Savannah The Amazon is that she makes Al look like a pygmy. She needs to lose the stilettos.

  8. lw says:

    We could go on and on about how terrible the Today show has become over the last few years. But Ann is the reason I stopped watching after 20+ years. She is lovely, no doubt. But she is awful in every way. I kept waiting for her to become comfortable in her position, but she just got worse and worse. I think the show is in big trouble. Matt & Al look as if they are phoning it in. Methinks it will take a really big shake up to save it.

  9. susan says:

    Ann I-feel-your-pain Curry is the worst. Natalie, Natalie, Natalie! She’s smart and beautiful and fun. I promise we’re not related! She and Matt would make a great team.

  10. daisydoodle says:

    When Ann Curry took over from Meridth, I knew trouble was brewing…Ann was fine with the news, however, she is very stiff and uncomfortable being a co-anchor. I believe NBC gave her the job because she deserved it, due to tenure, but she can’t seem to relax in that chair. Time to find a co-host that is more relaxed and fun….

  11. Dibba says:

    UGH never watch these morning shows. They make me nauseous. I think Lauer is a total douche. Not worth 50 million.

  12. birdie says:

    50 million Dollars for 2 years on a morning show?? Wow, only in America.

  13. Jackie says:

    i love this stuff!

    great interview.

    i think if the show loses matt, that will be the end of their #1 ratings. ann really needs to go, and so does al. i find them both silly and uncomfortable to watch.

    ryan is one smooth character. his ambition oozes from every pore.

    btw, i totally miss tim russert. don’t even watch meet the press anymore.

  14. Jezi says:

    Ann Curry is awful! I’ve never liked her. She always interuppted while interviewing and it never looked like she was actually listening. I am so glad they want to get rid of her.

  15. Stanhope says:

    Lauer yes….Curry hell no. She is horrible, the absolute worst. What would be interesting is Star Jones. Am I the only one that thought Jane Pauly was great? Hell Oprah will be looking for a job soon…put her in. 🙂

  16. anne says:

    I hate Ryan Seacrest – to much “Mr. Entertainment”. Never have liked Ann Curry’s style of interviewing – her facial expressions, blech. OMG NOT Star Jones. Today would lose me forever. Lately I’ve been so unmotivated by their stories I actually have old reruns of Beverly Hillbillies on when I’m getting ready in the morning. THAT’S BAD

  17. Runs with Scissors says:

    None of these people are talented. It’s mind boggling how much power they have.

  18. Mando says:

    Natalie Morales

  19. Linda says:

    Curry is always so cloying and pandering. It’s annoying.

  20. chloew says:

    I’m sorry, this guy is the MOST annoying gross, uneducated idiot there is….he’s just gross

    and she’s no better…they need to get rid of EVERYONE

  21. dahlia1947 says:

    Ann usually looks like she’s medicated. She’s a mess sometimes. I like Matt though. He’s just this corporate (I know I’m sick 😉 ) looking, blue suit sexy type that I like. 😉

    Ryan would be all wrong for this job! He needs to stick to pimpin’ the K’s in L.A.

  22. christa says:

    To be fair, I haven’t seen much of Ann Curry lately, but if her past interviews with Brad Pitt (& Angelina??) are any indication, she doesn’t know how to conduct a decent interview. Her interview with Pitt was fawing, gushing and her lips must have been sore from all the a$$-kissing. Clearly Brad had the upperhand — kinda diminishes her credibility don’t you think?

  23. Cleveland Girl says:

    I was wondering why they gave Ann the gig in the first place. She is incompetent.

  24. Annie says:

    I’m still astonished that exec’s at the Today show thought Ann was a viable candidate!? What an incompetant sychophant! Initialy it was entertaining to watch her unscripted/ungaurded moments…is it possible she has turrets? But the hilarity has worn thin and it’s a toss up between Matt and Al who is more contemptuous… When you’re at the receiving end of Roker’s contempt it’s time to reevaluate….
    If Matt ( my secret lover) calls the shots her days are numbered and we can all stop gritting our teeth..if he walks because of her I’m through with “Today”

  25. Pixiestix says:

    Stay, Matt! I love Savannah Guthrie, she’d be great as his cohost. Natalie is terrific, too, but read somewhere that she really likes news stories on location as an adventurer, and also that Matt’s wife is super jealous of her, so that might not fly…

  26. Sarah says:

    I don’t watch Today anymore due to Anne. I really like CBS morning show with Charlie Rose and Gayle King, also Morning Joe. I like the round table setting

  27. Ella jones says:

    Matt Lauer should replace David Gregory on Meet the Press… I can see Matt doing a better at it.

  28. Kimberly says:

    I’ve been a long term lurker here at Celebitchy, but my annoyance with Ann Curry forced me out! Is anyone else COMPLETELY irritated by Ann’s “Mmmming” during her interviews? If it was on at night, you could turn it into a drinking game. But since she’s on at 7am, I know I’d get fired for showing up at work drunk! And her projecting the feelings of the person she’s interviewing – “I know you’re proud. How do you feel? Mmmm.” ARG! My husband is a Today Show fan (I think he’s got a crush on Natalie) and since he gets up first, he gets control of the TV in the morning. He’s tired of me complaining about Ann’s mmming, so I can’t tell you all how happy I am to find out that I’m not the only one who dislikes her!

    • Jackie says:

      Thrilled that Matt will be staying but I have to say that I switched back and forth between Today and GMA all this week. Haven’t done that since Joan Lunden was on. In my opinion, Ann is just too hard to watch and viewers will start looking for an alternative…….I know I have.

  29. Jazz says:

    These posts capture EXACTLY how I have ALWAYS felt about Ann Curry (and often wondered if anyone else was thinking the same). But how could you not? It’s like the big elephant in the room that NBC doesn’t want to talk about. Why in the world did they EVER give her the anchor chair. It’s become excruciating to watch. And I don’t know what’s worse – watching her grating, silly antics or watching Matt try (unsuccessfully) to hide his disdain for her. Bless her heart, but she’s gotta go.

  30. Agree, Ann has got to go…Natalie would be great. She is smart, quick, kind, but tough – these skills shine when she interviews. However, the person I hate more than Ann is Savannah Guthrie!! I kept telling my husband how “immature” Savannah is – then I looked her up – good grief, the woman is past 40, yet acts like a teenager! Talk about being inappropriate, watch her interview with Adrian Brody – thought Matt, Al, and Nat were going to pass out due to Savannah’s stupidity. Just proves that a law degree does not guarantee brains.

    • chris says:

      She got the highest score out of 634 people when she took the arizona state bar, and she graduated magna cum laude from one of the top law programs in the country. not smart enough? Ok, she is the chief legal consultant for NBC, was the White House Correspondent as well. She was an up and comer at a white shoe law firm when she quit. She is really really bright

  31. christy diamond says:

    Well personally I like Ann. I think they have great chemistry as a crew. Maybe they shoud have coached her on theses things that they disliked about her interviewing, instead of giving her the boot. I can agree that she did seem uncomfortable or like she didnt knoww how to approach people she would interview, but come on to let her go in such a cut throat manner.

  32. christy diamond says:

    Ryan seacrest!!!! No hell no!