Rumors that Matt Lauer will be fired from the Today show have been gaining momentum lately, as the morning show anchor continues to battle the backlash of Ann Curry's botched June exit. Lauer, whose reputation was laid under siege following the release of Brian Stelter's shocking Today show tell-all, will allegedly be let go prior to the termination of his Today show contract. With NBC's bad publicity breaking down the Today show's already tumbling ratings, viewers are wondering whether Ann Curry will be avenged by Matt Lauer's firing.
When Ann Curry delivered a tear-filled farewell to the Today show's following last June, Lauer, sitting alongside her, offered up what seemed to be a heartfelt tribute to his co-anchor's tenure at Today. Yet, less than a year later, following the release of media reporter Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, Matt Lauer - along with a few notable names among NBC's top brass - emerged as the main culprit behind Ann Curry's firing. In his book, Stelter chronicles Matt Lauer's bad chemistry with co-anchor Ann Curry and his instrumental role in having her removed from the Today show lineup. Lauer, whose alleged dislike of Curry carried into Today show staff attitudes, has been accused of openly complaining about Curry and "tacitly ratifying" NBC's not-so-secret scheme to fire the female anchor. Stelter's shocking exposé, which outlines the Today show's bad behind-the-scenes behavior, had a snowball effect. New York Magazine's Joe Hagan followed suit with a scathing article on Lauer, leading to a deluge of bad press for NBC and its controversial on-camera mainstay.
WATCH ANN CURRY AND MATT LAUER'S CHEMISTRY ON THE 'TODAY SHOW'. WERE THEY FAKING IT?
Although NBC has denied rumors of replacing Matt Lauer, reliable reports have surfaced confirming that a successor to the defamed daytime host is close to a conclusion. According to The New York Times, CNN's Anderson Cooper has been slated to take over for Lauer following his firing. Cooper, whose salary is estimated to be about half of Lauer's $25 million Today show deal, has proven himself capable of juggling heavy-hitting news stories with the lighter mom-friendly fodder of morning TV. With Cooper's CNN contract terminating this fall, the Anderson Cooper 360 anchor could be the right personality to follow in Matt Lauer's footsteps.
With a possible replacement for Matt Lauer already lined up, NBC may only be biding time until they let Lauer go. And there is probably no one more eager to see Lauer get fired than Ann Curry. According to RadarOnline, NBC executives now suspect that Curry cooperated with Stelter on his damning documentation of Lauer and the Today show's below-board behavior. "If Ann [Curry] didn't directly work with Brian [Stelter] on the book, she likely would have told her friends and colleagues it was okay to talk to him," a Today show insider reveals. "One of Ann's very good pals, New York Times Op-Ed columnist, Nicholas Kristof, spoke openly on the record in the book. There is no way he would have done that without Ann's permission," the source claims.
And if Ann Curry still resents Matt Lauer - and his Today show cohorts - for her June firing, we wouldn't blame her. When Lauer's friend and NBC colleague Kathie Lee Gifford offered to publish a petition against Lauer's bad rep in the press, Ann Curry's stamp of approval was notably missing. Although Gifford claimed Curry was traveling at the time, the absence of the former Today anchor's signature did not go unnoticed. Whether or not Lauer's firing is on the imminent horizon, it sure doesn't look like Ann Curry will be forgiving or forgetting anytime soon.