Despite numerous reports to the contrary, NBC said the Today show is keeping Matt Lauer.
Rumors started circulating on Wednesday that Lauer was on the chopping block at the network. However, a top NBC executive has stated that the folks behind Today currently have no plans to kick the host to the curb.
“Matt Lauer is the best in the business. We want him in the ‘Today’ show anchor chair for many years to come,” said NBC News executive Alex Wallace.
It would appear that Lauer’s job is safe for the time being. However, this statement by NBC contradicts several reports that suggested Anderson Cooper was being groomed to take over the position at some point in the near future.
Matt Lauer’s contact with NBC and the Today show will expire in 2014. Many insiders believe that he will leave the program once that happens. Executives are no doubt looking for a possible replacement should Lauer decide to part ways with the program.
“NBC News has many exploratory talks with talent inside and outside of the network, but to read anything specific into that is presumptuous,” an insider at the network said.
Tensions between Matt Lauer, the network, and Today viewers have been tense in recent months. The anchor’s relationship with fans took another hit this week when a New York Magazine story suggested that Lauer didn’t like Curry.
Lauer himself is reportedly upset with NBC since he felt the recent interview with Jerry Sandusky was in poor taste. Matt believed that the show should be discussing the situation with the victims.
A network insider told RadarOnline:
“Matt feels that he was set up by producers to fail by participating in the interview with Ziegler. Matt didn’t think it was a good idea to air it to begin with. Jerry Sandusky is a convicted child rapist, and Matt’s feeling was, let’s talk to the victims.”
Although it would appear that NBC is planning to keep Matt Lauer on the Today show for the time being, it’s unclear what will happen when his contract expires next year.