For most of his career, Matt Lauer was the golden boy. Women wanted to date him. Men wanted to be him.
That's not the case anymore.
Ever since Matt Lauer did his part to get Co-Host Ann Curry dumped from the Today Show. he has had a big target on his back.
This morning New York Magazine takes a shot at the target and hits a bullseye.
Taking about the scene where Curry is weeping as she says goodbye they write, what followed was the implosion of the most profitable franchise in network television. After sixteen years as the No. 1 morning show in America, Today was worth nearly half a billion dollars a year in advertising revenue to NBC, the bedrock of its business. In the aftermath of the Curry debacle, the show lost half a million viewers and ceded first place in the ratings war to ABC’s Good Morning America, losing millions of dollars overnight.
Blamed in the press for his co-host’s offing, Lauer has watched helplessly as his reputation gets battered week after week. When Chelsea Handler joked to him on Today earlier this month, “You have a worse reputation than I do,” Lauer’s smile sharpened into something that wouldn’t make it past airport security.
The producers of Today are employing every trick they know to rebuild the family’s chemistry, retooling the set, fiddling with the mix of stories, going for more uplift and smiles. But the show is still haunted by what happened, and is still happening, offscreen, the internal struggles and animosities casting strange shadows. Matt Lauer smiles for a living, but offstage he has been obsessed with the situation, brooding about his ratings and his enemies while trying to put forward his own version of events. If Lauer is guilty in the hosticide of Ann Curry (he’s certainly not innocent), he’s far from the only guilty party. For all the smiles, TV hosts often get offed, for all sorts of reasons. As Hyman Roth said in Godfather 2: This is the business they’ve chosen.