Matt Lauer Plots Comeback With Bryant Gumbel & HBO Sports

Amy Feinstein

Despite some personal issues over the last year -- a year which included a dismissal from the Today show and the end of his marriage -- Matt Lauer has maintained his friendship with former colleague Bryant Gumbel. Gumbel, who is a host for HBO Sports, wants to help the unlucky talk show host get back in front of the camera.

Radar Online reports that Matt Lauer was spotted in Florida during the first week of January for "secret talks" with pal Bryant Gumbel -- likely in the hope of getting Lauer back on the air in a hosting position. Eyewitnesses said they saw Lauer arrive at the West Palm Beach Airport, looking much thinner than when he was a morning show host.

"Matt was wearing a sweater despite the Florida heat and looked very thin," said the source. "He definitely didn't appear to be himself or anything like how he looked on TV. He was incredibly gaunt."

However, Lauer didn't head to a hotel -- but rather to the home of Gumbel and his wife. Television insiders say that Lauer was in town to plan his next move to return to the small screen, after more than a year away.

Matt Lauer and Bryant Gumbel have been friends for years, and Gumbel has stuck by his buddy through the bad times following his breakup with NBC.

"This just might be Matt's chance to show that he's turned over a new leaf!"

After his termination from Today, Matt Lauer had stated that he was done with television and journalism -- and that he planned to use his free time to enjoy his three children, and to relax. But after a harsh year, Lauer is ready to get back to work.

The International Business Times says that after almost a year and a half off-camera, Lauer has still not commented publicly on what happened. Lauer and his estranged wife, Annette Roque, are on the verge of a divorce -- and the former Today host had to divvy up his property with the mother of his three children.

But some friends of Lauer say that he is actually happy not to have a nine-to-five job, and he would rather just enjoy his family.

"[Matt] is not thinking about working again right now."