Matt Lauer and pretty much everyone at NBC's “Today” have seen better times during the show’s many decades on television. The 55-year-old host talked about his morning show’s low ratings and Ann Curry’s departure during a frank interview with the Daily Beast.
Lauer said of "Today's" less-than-stellar ratings:
"It was a hard time for everybody. … We were getting kicked around a lot. Some of it was self-inflicted and perhaps deserved."
Curry, 56, was swiftly discarded from the show in June 2012 and replaced with Savannah Guthrie. During her tearful goodbye on her last day, Curry noticeably refused a hug from Lauer. Since her departure, the show’s ratings have continued to drop.
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"I don't think the show and the network handled the transition well. You don't have to be Einstein to know that," Lauer admitted. "It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn't handle a family matter well."
The “Today” host took much of the blame after Curry left, even though NBC News' former president Steve Capus maintains the decision had nothing to do with Lauer.
“When Matt was informed that we had made this decision, his good counsel was to go slow, to take care of Ann, and to do the right things," Capus told Us Weekly. "He 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."
"Today" has been battling ABC's "Good Morning America" for the morning talk show crown, and Lauer said he's "not going to whine or get depressed. Who's going to feel sorry for me? Nobody."
He adds: "In some ways being No. 2 in the ratings is a real shot in the arm, a kick in the pants . . . It makes you hungrier ... I don't think it’s a bad thing to have a fire lit under your ass."