Matt Lauer wanted NBC to hire some experts to deal with the Ann Curry debacle, but Comcast would not do it.
Page Six says that the embattled “Today” host urged NBC to bring in a crack crisis p.r. team to help stem seemingly unending bad press in the wake of Ann Curry’s dismissal.
But sources say that the Comcast-owned network refused Lauer’s request. As a result, Lauer has been “taking matters into his own hands,” a source close to the show said, with a more active role in helping oversee p.r. plans.
“Matt’s wanted to bring in an outside p.r. agency,” explained a source close to the morning show. “He lost faith and has wanted a crisis team in place. Since they haven’t hired an outside agency, he’s taking matters into his own hands.”
Another TV source said that “Today” was interviewing outside firms as far back as last fall, months after the Curry debacle sent ratings of the once-dominant show tumbling.
“They were looking for [outside firms] in the fall,” the source said. “But it was a case of the higher-ups at Comcast not wanting to bring someone in.”
Lauer’s publicly poked fun at his situation this month at a UJA Federation of New York event, saying, “These days, I only get asked to host dinners if polio is busy. Yup, I have a lower Q rating than polio right now” and “Who can forget when [Katie Couric] was co-host of the ‘Today’ show? She got a colonoscopy on TV . . . two weeks ago, I got one in the New York Times.”
A top spin doctor said that the network should have taken Lauer’s advice and brought in the cavalry to handle the “Today” mess. “Matt should be seen as a much more sympathetic figure,” he said. “They’ve made some real mistakes, obvious ones, and they have no plan. As soon as you become the highest-paid anchor, you have a target on your tush.” But another supported NBC’s decision, sniffing, “I’d never let [on-air] talent hire their own outside p.r. people.”
A “Today” rep declined to comment.
H/T Page Six