Matt Lauer, Co-host of NBC’s Today Show, finally talks about Ann Curry’s ‘banishment’ from the show last year
Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s Today Show finally spoke up about NBC’s demotion of former Today Show Co-host and long-time NBC correspondent, Ann Curry.
First, some background: Curry was a staple correspondent on NBC’s today show for 15 years when she was promoted to co-host in 2011. After barely a year as co-host Curry was replaced by Savanna Guthrie in the wake of sliding NBC ratings.
Curry pushed back tears in a memorable onscreen goodbye. Thanking viewers for their loyalty and apologizing if they felt she had failed them. She was clearly distressed.
NBC made the move to replace Curry in hopes of boosting ratings. ABC’s Good Morning America was pulling ahead in the polls. But just the opposite happened.
After Curry’s demotion rating plummeted and rumors flew, not the least of which was that Lauer was in some way responsible for Curry’s demotion.
Matt Lauer Talks
In his first interview on the subject March 13, Lauer told the Daily Beast that he was stopped on the street by viewers complaining about Curry’s banishment. Lauer told of an American women who stopped him in a London elevator during the Olympics and said, “I hate what you’ve done. I will never watch you again.”
But Lauer said Tuesday he had always been a quiet but insistent supporter of Curry. That he had asked the network to keep her on board, or at least to transition her off the show slowly. He told of a lunch meeting they had where he encouraged her to hire an agent so she would be fairly represented in her dealings with the network.
Lauer went on to criticize NBC’s handling of the situation, painting a picture of frantic NBC executives desperate to stop the rating slide.
Lauer understands his role as breakfast companion for 4.5 million American’s. The atmosphere of the show, the quality of the content and the familiar faces are what keeps viewers tuned in. “We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well,” he said.
Murder and mayhem may keep the ratings high, but according to Lauer it undermines viewer trust. “We want people to feel good about a portion of their morning, and we got away from that.”