Matt Lauer has been the subject of much scrutiny recently as reports of what really transpired in the Ann Curry ousting come to light and ratings continue to decline.
And it appears the brass at NBC are now looking to possibly replace Lauer.
Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva reports exclusively:
I hear NBC toppers recently reached out to CNN’s Anderson Cooper to replace Lauer on the show before the end of the year. After their initial approach to Cooper, I hear NBC reached out to Lauer to get his blessing about the changeover. But I heard they got pushback from the Today veteran, who contacted Cooper to express his disapproval. I also hear that call caught Cooper by surprise, as he had assumed Lauer had been brought on board before NBC began making overtures. Cooper has been one of the leading faces at CNN, though I hear his contract has an out, and he previously was able to do his syndicated daytime talk show in addition to his CNN program.
New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter, whose book on the morning show wars is due out next month, called the Deadline report “so surprising that some television industry executives thought the story was untrue, chalking it up to troublemaking by agents or rival networks.”
But, he also confirms that “three people with knowledge of the call confirmed that it happened, and said they too were taken aback by it. The people insisted on anonymity because the call was considered confidential.”
Stelter further reports, “A news division executive, who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity, confirmed in an e-mail that ‘NBC News has many exploratory talks with talent inside and outside of the network, but to read anything specific into that is presumptuous.'”
An NBC News spokeswoman declined to comment to The Times, but one source said “Matt’s now in the same situation now as Ann Curry.”
While Lauer’s $25 million contract isn’t technically up for a year and a half, it could be good timing for Cooper, whose current contract at CNN expires this fall.
But, as one source told The Times, “he’s not a morning person.”