For years on end, The Today Show has quenched mankind's thirst for the mundane. The placid, not at all challenging white noise to run in the background of one's brainless daytime routine. The NBC institution never egged us on, never stirred any bad mojo, never made us think or feel whatsoever... until they gave Ann Curry the axe back in '12, and viewers grew up in arms (at least relatively) over what was considered an unfair dismissal of the co-anchor. One of the targets of fans' animosity was Matt Lauer, who was criticized for his decorum during the ordeal. But Lauer himself, talking to The Daily Beast, agrees that the network was not exactly operating at peak efficiency in its decision.
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"I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well," Lauer says. "You don’t have to be Einstein to know that." According to the standing anchor, the whole transition "was a hard time for everybody ... We were getting kicked around a lot. Some of it was self-inflicted and perhaps deserved."
Lauer recounts what Curry's absence did to the Today team's reputation: "It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn't handle a family matter well."
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Steve Capus, former president of NBC News, speaks on behalf of Lauer, whose behind-the-scenes behavior might have been a lot different from the accusations surrounding him: "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 ... 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."
While we may give way to new ideas about Lauer's involvement in the Curry ordeal, many will only be satisfied when the former correspondent takes her next regular spot on daytime TV. Soon, fellow Curryists. Soon.
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[Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC]
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In the breast augmentation interview heard 'round the world, Kris Jenner spoke of the decision-making process that led her to share the alteration of her God-given breasts on television. But why was this fairly typical Kardashians chat so extraordinary? It took place at exactly 8:46 AM ET... on Sept. 11... as other news networks and series were airing the moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center 11 years ago. Needless to say, viewers were pretty miffed. Still, in a statement to the New York Times, an NBC spokesperson declared that NBC would not be making apologies for ignoring the moment of silence because they had every year since 2006 with the exception of the 10th anniversary. Now, NBC is making apologies — they're just not making them to the audience. The president of NBC News, Steve Capus, sent out a message to NBC affiliates apologizing for the fact that the Kardashians interview caused them to endure the wave of media and viewer criticism. According to the NYT, Capus wrote,Yesterday, we made an editorial call resulting in the Sept, 11 moment of silence not being seen. While we dedicated a substantial amount of airtime to anniversary events, we still touched a nerve with many of your viewers … and for that we apologize.The memo also stressed the coverage of the attacks on American embassies in Libya and Egypt, which aired the day after the Jenner interview on Sept. 12, before making amends for choosing not to air the moment of silence. Do you think NBC needs to apologize for not airing the silent tribute? Should it only be done on big anniversaries of the event? Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: NBC] More: NBC's 'Today' Skips 9/11 Moment of Silence for Kris Jenner Interview We Can Thank Mitt Romney for Keeping Jason Sudeikis on 'SNL'... For Now NBC Can't Catch a Break: Leno's Jokes, #NBCFail & Five Other Criticisms
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Rejoice, morning news fans: Your beloved Matt Lauer isn't going anywhere. Despite rumors that he would leave the Today Show when his contract ran out, Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, says Lauer has signed "a long-term deal" to stay on the program. “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team,” said Capus. An official announcement will be made tomorrow.
The future of Lauer's co-host Ann Curry is still unclear. Curry's transition into the spot vacated by Meredith Viera has been rocky, and sources claim that she'll soon be replaced by Savannah Guthrie.
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Radio DJ Don Imus's morning show has been dropped by cable company MSNBC after his use of racist language.
Imus was suspended by MSNBC earlier this week after he referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as 'nappy-headed hos'--a racially charged sexist term--but now his show has been pulled indefinitely by the network.
MSNBC, which is owned by parent company NBC, was forced to pull the broadcast of Imus in the Morning, after a growing list of sponsors said they were withdrawing their advertisements.
NBC News head Steve Capus says, "I take him at his word that he is not a racist. But those were racist comments and there should not be a place for that on MSNBC."
Meanwhile, the Rutgers women's basketball team and coach C. Vivian Stringer are scheduled to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show tonight to discuss the controversy.
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The major news anchors are heading to the West Coast.
ABC's Peter Jennings, CBS' Dan Rather and NBC's Tom Brokaw will be temporarily relocated to California to cover the recall election Tuesday, Oct. 7, Reuters reports, when voters will decide either to keep current Democratic Gov. Gary Davis in office or elect a new governor.
While none of the Big Three will offer complete coverage, they will be focusing on the election during their regular news programs, along with special updates as warranted.
Jennings, joining the leading candidates in the final days of their campaign, will be the first of the major broadcast news organizations to land in Los Angeles, broadcasting ABC's World News Tonight Friday. ABC's Nightline, hosted by Ted Koppel, will air two broadcasts--one at 11:35 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, about half an hour after the California polls close, and a West Coast update three hours later that will air live across the country, Reuters reports.
Brokaw's NBC Nightly News will start its L.A. broadcast on Sunday, with Brokaw anchoring on Monday for three nights of newscasts running through Wednesday. Rather and the CBS Evening News will join them Tuesday and Wednesday. Harry Smith will be in L.A. for the CBS Early Show, as will Katie Couric, who will anchor NBC's Today show from the Left Coast, Reuters reports.
The three leading 24-hour cable news outlets--Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC--also are planning special election coverage from Los Angeles and elsewhere in California.
Everyone seems poised to see the battle between Gov. Davis and the myriad of colorful candidates opposing him, including Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Gary Coleman, porn publisher Larry Flynt, and more than 130 other candidates. This event has gained intense national media coverage rarely seen for state gubernatorial races.
"It's got all the elements," NBC Nightly News executive producer Steve Capus told Reuters on Thursday. "Start with this unpopular governor trying to make his way through difficult economic times... add in the uniquely California set of circumstances that includes a Hollywood actor and any number of other interesting characters, and you've got a great story."
ABC News political director Mark Halperin said: "It's quite obvious if Arnold Schwarzenegger were not a candidate in this race, the national networks would not be devoting presidential campaign resources to this story." He added that widespread voter discontent also has sparked strong interest in the recall experiment of California, home to roughly one in seven Americans, Reuters reports.
Networks have also made a promise not to project winners and losers until all polls close, which should be an easy one to keep because of the long list of candidates, the larger-than-normal number of absentee ballots and the consolidation of precincts. Depending on the closeness of the election, it could be hours, even days, before the outcome is known.
"We're going to be pretty cautious because there's a lot of weirdness to this race," Joe Lensky, executive vice president of Edison Media Research, told Reuters, which together with Mitofsky International, is providing exit poll data for all the networks, several newspapers and local TV stations.
Jonathan Wald, executive producer of NBC Nightly News, has been named the new exec producer of the Today show. He replaces Jeff Zucker, who left in January to become president of NBC Entertainment and Michael Bass, who has been acting exec producer since Zucker's departure. Steve Capus, who has exec produced MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams, will replace Wald at Nightly News.