Today show host Matt Lauer has been a staple on the program for 20 years. As co-anchors Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, and Ann Curry came and went, Lauer remained the reliable face of the morning show. He has always been a team player, but that could all be coming to an end with the arrival of Megyn Kelly. Is Lauer done “trying to make things work” and ready to leave the show?
Matt Lauer’s Current Contract Is Almost Up
According to Closer Weekly, once Lauer’s $25 million-a-year contract ends in 2018, the 59-year-old is planning to leave the NBC moneymaker. A source claims that Lauer’s “heart hasn’t been in the job” lately, and his ongoing rivalry with Kelly has helped him make the decision to walk away.
Lauer’s exit could cause a lot of damage to a program that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars each year in revenue. No one is being groomed to take over, but for Lauer that doesn’t matter. He is ready to spend more time with his wife, Annette, and their kids Jack, 16, Romy, 14, and Thijs, 10.
Megyn Kelly’s Arrival At NBC Was Not Approved By Lauer
When Kelly came to the network in January, that was the beginning of the end for Lauer. He started to think about his exit after execs didn’t keep him in the loop on her hiring. Instead, network bosses didn’t tell him until the last minute, and he felt pushed aside because he used to have a lot of influence on those kinds of decisions.
Not long after the hiring of Kelly, Lauer told TV Insider that at the first moment he doesn’t love it, he will retire, adding it “would be a crime to stay.” And when Kelly arrived on the morning show earlier this fall, she had no interest in hearing anything Lauer had to say when he tried to give her advice about transitioning from Fox News to the more light-hearted, bubbly world of morning television.
Lauer Understands Why Celebrities Are Steering Clear Of Kelly’s New Show
This caused egos to clash, and when an industry insider told Lauer that celebrities were staying away from Kelly’s new show, Page Six reports that instead of defending his colleague he replied that he “gets it,” and “it’s a big problem for them.”
The veteran Today anchor did try to help Kelly out during her first couple weeks on the show, appearing during her hour and talking with her about emojis and revealing that she had a chunk of chocolate scone in her teeth when they first met. However, things quickly got awkward when she asked if a wild cougar had ever attacked him.
Closer Weekly reports that NBC is allegedly forcing Lauer to make appearances during Kelly’s hour, with an insider claiming he has “no choice but to do it.”
[Featured Image by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images]