“The Today Show” has been the #1 morning show on TV for as long as some of its viewers have been alive, and one of the reasons behind this is simply that producers are not so much a fan of change. (When you are so successful, why would they be?) When Ann Curry replaced Meredith Vieira last year, it was only the second time since 1997 that there had been an anchor change.
Now, the man who benefited from that 1997 change is thinking about stepping away. Matt Lauer has been in the midst of contract talks for some time, mostly because his deal expires in January 2013. For a while, it seemed as though it was a sure thing that his 15-year tenure was going to come to a close … but could money say otherwise?
According to Newsday, Lauer could be offered as much as $25 million per year to stay on the show — and if he takes it, the show is likely going to have its lineup set for the next two or three years. Is Lauer really worth this kind of money? While the cynics may scoff at it, we’re going to say “yes.” How can you disagree with ratings? Lauer not only is well-respected as the go-to guy early in the mornings, but he also covers extensively such events as the Olympics and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
It has been interesting following the talk about Lauer’s successor, in particular because some seem to think that Ryan Seacrest would be the one to step into his shoes. Personally, we still have a hard time even seeing this happen if Lauer leaves. Ryan is firmly in Los Angeles at the moment, and “Today” also has a history of hiring from within. Plus, it’s not like the “American Idol” host is going to command a salary that’s significantly lower than Matt’s.
Do you think it’s important that Lauer stays with the show?