After almost a year of being blamed for Ann Curry’s abrupt firing from the “Today Show,” show host Matt Lauer is speaking out. According to the New York Post on March 11, Lauer is placing the blame squarely on NBC.
About the way it was done, Lauer told Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast, “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.”
Matt Lauer says that he actually tried to keep Ann Curry on “Today.” According to Steve Capus, former president of NBC News, “He [Lauer] was quietly and publicly a supporter of Ann’s throughout the entire process. It is unfair that Matt has shouldered an undue amount of blame for a decision he disagreed with.”
Lauer says he took Curry to lunch and told her that although he didn’t want her as co-anchor in the beginning, he didn’t want to see her go and that she needed to hire an agent quickly. Curry never used an agent.
Matt Lauer claims he even offered to step down. NBC executive Steve Burke recalled Lauer telling him, “If you think the show’s better off without me, let me know, and I’ll get out of the way.”
“Today” even considered asking Katie Couric to come back. She was interested at first, but went with ABC instead.
According to Matt Lauer, he’s “the luckiest guy I know.” He vowed he’s “not going to whine or get depressed” about “Today’s” ratings battle with “Good Morning America.”
“Who’s going to feel sorry for me? Nobody,” he said. “In some ways being No. 2 in the ratings is a real shot in the arm, a kick in the pants.”
Unfortunately for Matt Lauer, Ann Curry’s legions of fans don’t believe him and his latest admissions are thought to simply be damage control to save his own rear end and the show’s ratings.
What do you think? Do you think Matt Lauer has unfairly taken the blame all this time? And if so, why did he wait so long to speak out? Or like a lot of the public, do you feel that this is simply a move to cover the bad publicity and ratings? Leave a comment if you’re a “Today” fan.