Matt Lauer gets candid over ‘Today Show,’ Ann Curry, and creative differences

Today ShowOver half a year after the departure of Ann Curry shook up the dynamics of “The Today Show,” and also very much damaged the reputation of Matt Lauer as the nice-guy newsman who would be there to greet you ever morning, the show’s co-anchor is finally telling at least some of his side of the story.

While Lauer (who was rumored to be unhappy with the chemistry between himself and Curry, leading to her ouster) chose to be rather vague on the subject of his former co-anchor during an extensive and enlightening new interview with The Daily Beast, he did admit that the entire situation could have been dealt with in a way that was far more positive:

“I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well. You don’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.”

Unnamed sources during the interview actually say that Lauer disagreed with the decision by NBC to downgrade Curry, saying that she deserved to have more time to find her voice and was quietly very supportive of her, which goes against some of the rumors discussed earlier. However, he has become in many ways the scapegoat for now just her removal from the show (when it was actually executives who made the move) and also its recent slide to second place behind “Good Morning America.”

Lauer also says in the interview that he was unhappy at times with the show’s direction as recently as six months ago, saying that he felt the news items covered were drifting away from the show’s positive tone to something more befitting of a tabloid:

“I’ll be perfectly blunt: I was losing a lot of those battles. We were driving a certain kind of viewer away … [Some executives] felt those [darker stories] rated well. Even if they popped in the ratings in the short term, they did some damage in terms of trust with our viewers. We got drunk on it.”

Lauer says that he is happier now with the show’s more positive and family-friendly tone in the earlier hours, and added that he was the “luckiest guy” that he knows (which makes since given that he is being paid roughly $30 million annually to do this job).

What do you think about Lauer’s comments? If you want to read more about the battle that is going on between “Today” and “Good Morning America,” you can do so by heading over to the link here.

Photo: NBC

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