As "Today's" ratings plummet, Matt Lauer's temper is apparently on the rise. The New York Post is reporting today, September 19, 2012, that an NBC source tells them Matt is becoming an "anchor animal."
“Matt’s turned into an anchor animal,” said a network source. “He’s making all editorial decisions, he’s running the show and he’s not listening to anyone . . . it’s a huge problem.”
The ratings on "Today" have slipped since the firing of Ann Curry in June. The reasons for the firing are still a little murky, but many fans pin the blame squarely on Matt Lauer and the fact that he wanted someone younger and hipper as a co-host. Ann has come out and said that the producers wanted her to dress differently, wear stiletto heels and to dye her hair, which she didn't want to do.
Over the summer, Al Roker got into the act with snarky on-air comments seemingly aimed at Lauer that were maybe about Ann, then they maybe weren't about Ann, then they were just harmless joking or whatever. It was hard to tell but the fact is that Al Roker and Ann Curry are good friends.
And, yes, the ratings are slipping. That's an indisputable fact. Right now, "Today" is about to fall behind ABC's "Good Morning America" for the third week in a row. This is having a negative effect on Matt Lauer's personality.
“He has gone so crazy about ratings that staff on ‘Today’ are not even allowed to mention ‘GMA’ to him,” a source says. “In the past, they’d discuss great segments other shows do. Matt’s berating the staff, telling them to work harder."
These are hard words to take from a guy that works four days a week for millions and millions of dollars.
There is talk of adding some new blood to the show to spark interest and gain new viewers. Mentioned have been MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist and Izzy Povich, executive producer of "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell."
Matt Lauer hasn't totally lost his sense of humor, though. He's apparently aware of the rumors going around about his surly temperament.
Will staff changes save "Today" or has the show just run its course? Is it time to totally revamp the format, as well as change staff? Would it help if they brought Ann Curry back? What do you think? Please leave a comment, especially if you're a "Today" fan.