Matt Lauer faces ironic paycut after ‘Today’ loses ratings with Ann Curry’s ousting

Matt Lauer

Does anyone else remember when Matt Lauer was promoted to co-host (replacing Bryant Gumbel) from the morning news position? It happened during the mid-to-late 1990s, and I remember enjoying the “Today” show to such a bizarre degree that I actually scheduled my college classes so that I could watch the program before leaving for the day. If it tells you anything at all about my change of heart, I haven’t sat down to watch the show for over a decade (although I do sometimes catch Kathie Lee & Hoda’s drunken antics later in the day at the gym). Back in the day, Matt seemed rather humble, and I recall that (after a few weeks in his new position) he spoke quite candidly of his fear that ratings would plummet immediately after he started co-hosting. Obviously, that didn’t happen because (I think) at that point, Matt was seen as an earnest, good guy who only reported straight news, and Bryant was quite the large-headed diva who was leaving for greener pastures (his own show).

Fast forward about fifteen years, and now Matt (according to Page Six) has “turned into an anchor animal.” Further, he’s said to be “making all editorial decisions, he’s running the show and he’s not listening to anyone … it’s a huge problem.” Matt is said to be losing his mind over “GMA” winning in the ratings against “Today” for the past several weeks, and one has to wonder whether Matt’s own attitude has anything to do with the fact that viewers are tuning out. Further, the show’s staff hates him and want him replaced with Lester Holt (which won’t happen), and even Al Roker doesn’t like him anymore either because he threw Ann Curry under the bus. Regardless of whether or not Ann was right for the co-host position, she was obviously treated poorly by Matt, who supposedly made it part of his contract renewal that she’d be fired. Then viewers watched Matt feign sympathy while Ann shed real tears over losing her job. As it turns out, viewers don’t soon forget who the real douche is, and falling ratings mean that Matt will soon be asked to take a “significant” pay cut. He deserves it.

Matt Lauer

Matt Lauer will be asked to take a significant pay cut if TODAY ratings continue to decline, is exclusively reporting.

“Matt Lauer will be asked to take a significant cut in his $25 million salary if TODAY doesn’t win the key November sweeps,” a source close to the situation tells Radar. “The May and November sweeps dictate how much the networks can charge for advertising and they are extremely important to the bottom line. The TODAY show had always been a cash cow for NBC, generating hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue.

“Comcast, which now owns NBC Universal, is going through the budgets of each show and right now, they are focusing on the news division. Matt’s salary is the biggest part of the TODAY show’s budget and with Good Morning America now routinely beating them, it’s just hard to justify that salary.

“Matt is under contract so it will have to be a voluntary decision, but the argument will be made that if he doesn’t agree to lose some of his salary then people’s jobs will have to be cut. Bottom line is money will have to be saved somewhere and he will be asked to do the ‘right thing’ by his staff.”

As previously reported, Lauer’s popularity with viewers is in a free fall. According to the influential Q Scores, his “likability” has plummeted 25 percent in just 12 months.

Q Scores are one of the most important factors companies use in deciding where to advertise, and the organization’s analysis of Lauer mirrors an internal study done at NBC, according to The New York Daily News.

The likability collapse covered the year when Meredith Vieira left Lauer’s side on the morning show’s anchor desk, to be replaced by Ann Curry and then by Savannah Guthrie.

“It raises a flag,” Henry Schafer, Executive Vice President of Q Scores, told The News. “These morning shows are driven by personalities — so there’s a real challenge out there for NBC News.”

Recently, “The Tonight Show” cut 20 to 25 staffers and host Jay Leno took what is being called a “tremendous” pay cut to prevent even more lost jobs. The development is believed to be a result of NBC being acquired by Comcast and execs there demanding that everything at the network be streamlined.

Meanwhile, staffers of TODAY “are extremely nervous that there are going to be lay-offs, and no one believes for one second that Matt will go along with a pay cut. Matt’s contract is iron-clad and he can’t be forced to take a pay cut,” the insider told Radar.

[From Radar Online]

Do you think that Matt will accept a pay cut? Probably not. In his eyes, he’s the entire “Today” show, but he doesn’t realize that he’s the main problem these days. All he wanted was to get rid of Ann, who he saw as dead weight, and the irony is that Ann may not have been perfect for her job, but her departure has resulted in steadily falling ratings. Odd how that works, right?

In the meantime, the Media Decoder blog (of the NYT) has gotten an inside scoop that MSNBC’s Willie Geist will be hosting the 9 a.m. hour of “Today” and filling in for Matt whenever he’s away. Looks like he may be lined up as a future replacement, but I doubt Matt would ever leave. His ego would never let him do so.

Matt Lauer

Matt Lauer

Photos courtesy of WENN

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

49 Responses to “Matt Lauer faces ironic paycut after ‘Today’ loses ratings with Ann Curry’s ousting”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Iggles says:

    Ugh, this guy is such a douche! His inflated ego is leading to his downfall, rightfully so..

  2. T.C. says:

    Karma is a bitch Lauer. The douchebag isn’t going to take a pay cut though. Watch people get fired to save his over-paid butt. What a jerk.

  3. DailyNightly says:

    One of the main problems with this show is now many of the segments focus on the anchors themselves. Their new “Ask Away” segment is for viewers who want to know more about THEM. I don’t care what sport Savannah played in school or what is on Al’s playlist. I want to know what is going on in the world, not what Matt does in his free time. They need to refocus on what format this show takes.

    • chalky says:

      Yep. They’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s creepy. Weekly segments about their high school days, first jobs, behind the scenes, etc – the anchors have become the story. It’s just as well, I don’t know why anyone would look to these shows for actual news. Light & fluffy is what they do best.

      • Sassy says:

        Katie Couric seems to be following the same format on her show. Revealed her bulimic days. Check out the show website. It actually had a bit on Katie’s clothes for the day, along with accessories and shoes. Who cares. They seem to be trying to humanize her. She is, however, suited for the light banter that a talk show requires.

  4. Liz says:

    I dont regularly watch Today; however, I saw a preview announcing a demonstration by Martha Stewart, and I wanted to watch it. The segment was billed for the 8:30 hour but it didn’t come on until close to 9. So, I had the show on for a very painful half hour. There is zero chemistry among the cast.
    Matt Lauer was in the segment with Martha Stewart and he was just awful. He interrupted her, tried to speak over her and just generally inserted himself into the segment in the most awkward manner. He really is the weak link in the program, not that anyone else is especially noteworthy.

  5. Jenny says:

    Ann is doing just fine. She is interviewing world leaders while the Today Show continues to feature the folks from “E” with more Kardashians than anyone wants or needs.

    The show has deteriorated badly and everyone understood how badly Curry was treated. Maybe she wasn’t the best for Lauer, but she is better than what is there now. She was replaced with the Bobsey Twins and I can’t tell them apart. I highly recommend the CBS morning program.

  6. MsCatra says:

    Willie Geist? Really? I love Willie on MSNBC and just cannot see him in this role. He’s got that more sly style of humor that generally isn’t the style they go for on the major network morning shows.

    • Blannie says:

      I love Willie Geist too (on Morning Joe on MSNBC). I hate the thought of him on the Today Show. He’s too smart and sarcastically funny for that milquetoast show.

      I also love Willie’s dad, Bill Geist, who’s been a journalist on the CBS Sunday morning show forever. Great family.

      I despise Matt Lauer. I remember when he was hot and not the douche he is today. But that was long, long ago.

  7. Heather says:


  8. lucy2 says:

    Glad Matt’s finally taking a hit for all this. He pushed Ann out, and is probably blaming Savannah now too, but people are annoyed with him.

    The overall quality of the show has gone down a lot too, given their fixation on stupid reality show non-stars, and then disasters like skipping the 9/11 moment of silence in favor of a Kris Kardashian interview. Seriously. The show deserves this slump. Unfortunately it will probably be the little people that get laid off.

    • mystified says:

      Looking forward to seeing him with Keith Doberman on Current TV — the station for self important prima donna’s.

      • Jaariel says:


        Send Glib Lauer to TV Siberia!

        And Savannah looks sort of “special” in that pic

  9. Talie says:

    He’s a douche for sure, but Ann did suck…she came off phony in many interviews. I think it’s hard for her to have that fake TV empathy. It was bizarre to watch.

    The GMA ratings rise probably has a lot to do with Robin Roberts.

    • Alicia says:

      Totally agree! People act like Ann Curry reinvented the morning talk show when really, she was terrible. Totally fake and stiff.

      GMA is just a better show – nothing to do with Lauer v. Curry drama.

      • Tiffany says:

        I agree that Ann was not the best at her position on the show but the way her termination was handled was horrible. It is one thing to slowly get pushed out your job, but to have it happen on such a public forum and be on television on the last day of the job you were fired from, even people with the thicked of skin cannot handle that. It sucked, people remember and now are watching something else. I am enjoying CBS’ Morning Show now and still watch Good Morning America.

      • ShugAveryPee says:

        I think Ann Curry was refreshing because some of us are sick and tired of a bunch of white folks on tv all the time… that is one reason I watch CNN faithfully… they mix it up… This country has many races and they all need to be represented.. and it was nice to see an intelligent … beautiful Asian woman on tv….
        Now my main issue is Matt had her fired because he did nt like her… and blamed it on the ratings… EVERYONE knew he never liked her… When he got his big $30 million pay day he began to make his demands… and her head was on the chopping block.. and to be that was a bitch move on his part….You can not blame one woman for the ratings.. and that is why the public was told she was terminated….
        She was on that show 15 years .. and the best sendoff they could give her was some B.S good bye for the last 5 min while she is crying her eyes off at the obvious back stabbing.. and then the jerk had nerve to “try ” and show sadness by hugging her… The way she was treated was HORRIBLE and that is why I am over MATT LAUER… and hope KARMA bites him hard….. he is soooo full of himself…

  10. ZigZagZoey says:

    God, I hate this guy. Is there anyone left who doesn’t? And sorry, but Savannah is kinda ugly…

    • The Original Genevieve says:


      I have loathed this guy ever since I found out what a philanderer his was to his wife, Annette Roque.

      I hope it’s just as simple as stating “Karma’s a BIOTCH”. If bad things happen to good people, one would hope that worse things happen to total d-bags like Matt Lauer.

      Somewhere, Ann Curry is quietly sniggering to herself. 🙂

  11. Riana says:

    Good to see Karma isn’t on vacation. Seriously…couldn’t happen to a ‘nicer’ guy.

    The only thing I find interesting about this is the dynamics of ego. The studio lauded over Matt thinking he was hot sh*t and encouraged him to get the iron clad contract as a result of thinking they couldn’t bear to lose him. As a result the jerk got a big head and assumed the whole world revolved around him and as such sexually harassed his co-workers and made his work-space his personal bordello. All the serious more intriguing women left the show and viewers came to see Matt as the only constant. Then we have a man hoist, whether one believes she was right for the show or not, a woman who loved her job out of it. No respect, no empathy…if just having her disappear wouldn’t raise too many red flags they wouldn’t even have let her say goodbye. That says something to viewers and they saw Matt – the constant – sitting there utterly unaffected. That’s disgusting.

    I can only imagine how with such a bad viewer response they missed the 9/11 tribute but now they’re in a free fall. The amazing thing is Matt Lauer will probably bankrupt the show before admitting any responsibility or stepping down. People are actually going to lose their jobs over this.

  12. bea says:

    I won’t lie, I’d get pleasure from seeing him go down in flames.

    The Today show absolutely blows, with or without him. Fluff.

  13. EmmaV1 says:

    Mhmm Matt surprisingly had a sense of humor about his whole debacle….he stated something like “It’s only 25 percent? It feels much worse.”

  14. suki says:

    I remember how gracious Katie Couric was when he first came on the show. She could have played diva and made him second fiddle, but she made a point to help promote him and make him an equal partner. Is shameful that he didn’t offer the same courtesy to Ann.

  15. Sallie says:

    Today has become a boring, predictable waste of time. Matt is the only one impressed with his performance and any semblance of esprit d’escorps left with Meredith. Savannah is nothing special and the whole show focuses on fluff. Time to turn the channel.

  16. Sunnyinseattle says:

    I will say it again. Matt is that “cool guy” in high school that will forever try to be that “cool guy” in high school. 😉

  17. Feebee says:

    This news is the ultimate rallying call for all ‘ratings’ homes to turn on GMA just for the sweeps!!! (Or CBS, just avoid the Today Show for the time being).

    Love the pics you chose of Lauer… looking his most douchiest.

  18. Nan209 says:

    Good. I can’t stand the man. He was alright in the late 90’s when I was isolated in the sticks with a new born. He was entertaining and there was real chemistry between everyone. It seemed like they were actually enjoying their jobs.

    Now, it’s just a hot mess and I’ve thought all along that Matt was the real problem not any of the female co-hosts. He’s just gotten to big for his britches.

  19. Anon says:

    CBS reports the news as it should be, NBC is a glorified PR tool-show with a douche hosting it and more douches producing it.

  20. Jaded says:

    Revenge is a dish best served cold, isn’t it Matt….

  21. dorothy says:


  22. OXA says:

    I stopped watching when Mutt Louse took over from Bryant Grumpie because he makes my skin crawl. I only rarely tuned in for a special interview or segment. Then after the Olympics coverage/ignorant comments by him and Bob Kostas, I was done. What he & NBC did to Ann Curry left such a bad taste that I refuse to watch anything on NBC.

  23. Jill says:

    Good!! He’s an a^&%hole anyway! Karma is a bitch.

  24. Melissa says:

    Interesting that any pay cut would have to be voluntary because he has a contract. Didn’t Ann Curry have a contract? They totally played her. Since they were going to fire her regardless, she should have made them pay out, and I get the feeling that she didn’t.

  25. TheOneAndOnlyOnly says:

    Dailynightly it may be that the format has simply worn itself out; you can only watch recylced celebs pitching themselves so long; and is it true that savannah is 40 yrs old and has a law degree – she comes off as unintelligent and juvenile, at least to me; and i agree jenny i prefer CBS – can’t stand GMA because now that ABC is owned by Disney, Disney uses gma to market every talentless disney kid – one just as bland and interchangeable as the next.

    • LeslieM says:

      I agree with you about Savannh. I couldn’t believe it when I learned she was 40 and had a law degree. She comes off as though she is a college student.

  26. Jayna says:

    I never liked Ann as co-host, but I knew Savannah would be no better, maybe worse.. So why change? Sure enough, I was right. Savannah has not been an improvement and wasn’t worth kicking Ann to the curb causing backlash. And Savannah has less chemistry than Ann did. I just don’t see why they thought Savannah was co-host material. Natalie would be better or Hoda Lee.

  27. the original bellaluna says:

    OK everybody, you heard it! SWITCH TO GMA FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER!

    In all seriousness, I used to LOVE The Today Show. I watched it before classes; I watched it before work.

    Hell, I was watching it when the Towers were hit and fell. So imagine how shameful it was that they couldn’t even observe a MOMENT OF SILENCE for the victims, choosing a KARTRASHIAN (of ALL THINGS!) over showing respect for the dead!!

    And NBC has a truly shitty record on how they deal with people, especially Ann. Personally, I haven’t watched since Katie left.

    If Matt gets unceremoniously ousted, I may tune in again.

    • Lake Mom says:

      Preach it, sister!

      I doubt Matt The Great will take a pay cut, I’m sure he has no qualms about putting people out of work, but if he does, you can bet he milk all the publicity he can out of the great sacrifice he made to keep the “little people’s” jobs. Gag!

      • the original bellaluna says:

        Lake Mom – I don’t think Matt’ll take a paycut either. But if he does, bet your (and my) ass that he won’t do it like Jay Leno did, quietly. And Jay took enough of a cut to keep at least 25+ people employed, from what I’ve read.

  28. mystified says:

    Nothing is more insufferable than a geek who thinks that he is a hunk whether it’s Matt Lauer, Shia LaBeouf, Tobey Maguire, or Brian Austin Green.

  29. Itsa says:

    Can’t stand Matt Lauer. The more I learn about him, the less I like him. I would LOVE it if Lester Holt could have Matt’s job. Lester is a better journalist and a better person.

  30. Mrs. Ari Gold says:

    I used to watch Today religiously every day – just like Bedhead. Now I haven’t watched in over a decade. It is god awful.

  31. Izzy says:

    He SHOULD take a pay cut, IMO. Ann Curry was let go because of her job performance – wasn’t there even a network exec who said that? If that’s the case, obviously Matt’s job performance is sub-par, so if they aren’t going to can him (which they should), he should at least take a pay cut to reflect the (in)adequacy of his job performance.