Matt Lauer on Ann Curry’s Firing: ‘I Don’t Think the Show Handled the Transition Well’

Ann Curry and Matt Lauer

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.

Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter

[Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC]

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