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'Today' host Matt Lauer's contract extended despite poor ratings

Despite rumors to the contrary, Matt Lauer will continue on as a co-host on the "Today" show. The New York Times reports that NBC has extended Lauer's contract by "more than two years" making him a veteran in the morning show industry. Lauer first came to "Today" in 1997, replacing Bryan Gumbel.

TODAY host Matt Lauer's contract renewed
Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Last year, the New York Daily News reported that Lauer's job was in jeopardy, speculating that the morning show's poor ratings "could signal end to Matt Lauer’s reign as anchor." The show was reportedly falling behind in the ratings and trailing behind "Good Morning America."

But that wasn't the only reason there were conflicting reports about Lauer's contract ending in 2015. The show having the worst press in the decades that it has been on television, especially after Ann Curry's firing last year. The New York Times published an article in March 2013 in which their source stated that NBC was doing "damage control" for Lauer, who was scrutinized by the media after Ann Curry was canned.

A year later, the show is still struggling a bit in the ratings, but is not as far behind "Good Morning America" as it was a year ago. Media Bistro's June 12 ratings report states that "GMA" still maintained its number one position this week, with a 827,000 viewer lead over the "Today" show, but both of their total viewer audiences were up two percent when compared to the numbers gathered for the same week last year.

Lauer's contract with "Today" ends in 2015, so rumors that he would be replaced have now been silenced with news of an extended contract being signed. Perhaps NBC thinks they can rekindle some viewer love by keeping Lauer instead of shaking the show up and ditching the host who has held the spot for the past 17 years.

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