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article imageOp-Ed: Matt Lauer, the $25 million man, losing Today Show audience

By Larry Clifton     Sep 21, 2012 in Entertainment
New York - Matt Lauer, the balding seemingly amiable master of the NBC Today Show, has had a string of bad television ratings since Ann Curry was fired and Lauer reportedly received a whopping pay increase to $25 million per year.
NBC News President Steve Capus apparently decided Ann Curry was the weak link in the Today Show's ratings, however the $25 million man has not produced positive results, not even considering the station paid a fortune to sponsor coverage of the Olympics earlier this year to boost ratings for the show and station. So why give all the loot to Lauer?
And, more importantly, what’s Capus to do now? Lauer already has an estimated worth of $60 million - a one percenter extraordinaire to say the least.
Should Capus buy Lauer an island in the South Pacific or perhaps arrange for a nose job? Maybe Capus could pay for hair implants so the sheen from Lauer’s ever-oily scalp doesn’t detract from the show. I sincerely don't know, but at least I'm trying to be helpful.
The Today Show's decision to skip honoring 9/11 victims in favor of interviewing Kim Kardashian's mother didn't help things, but the decline follows a broader time-line.
These are tough questions if you’re the president of NBC and you begin to wonder if you’re betting on the wrong dog. Surely whoever signs that $25 million batch of Lauer checks must question the sanity of a multi-year contract that rivals that of A-team Hollywood talent when the show's ratings are going the wrong direction.
Meanwhile, the Today troops are allegedly threatening mutiny because of Lauer’s reported type-A backstage persona.
Take for example the following New York Post report:
“He has gone so crazy about ratings that staff on ‘Today’ are not even allowed to mention ‘Good Morning America ’ 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.”
Hmm…could Al Roker be the "unnamed source" quoted in the Post?
Not long after Ann Curry was canned from the $25 million man’s show, Roker’s emotions surfaced just long to give the Today Show audience an inside peep.
Lauer was talking about a sports tradition of throwing a teammate into the water after a big win. "The tradition here in New York is that you throw her in the Hudson River," Lauer joked.
After Lauer finished with his interview, Roker quipped in an uncomfortable moment, “Which is different than in our tradition, which is to throw one of us under the bus. But that's another story." Abruptly, Roker recited a weather report in which he described rather chilly conditions on location.
However, all is well according to the man who agreed to make Lauer the only $25 million television chat-show host in America, maybe in the world.
"Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team,” NBC News president Steve Capus, was quoted in the New York Times.
Al Roker might do better talking about the weather and letting the sleeping dog lie. At least until the show’s ratings improve or Lauer takes a course in anger management.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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