In an interview with the Daily Beast, Matt Lauer finally opened up about The Today Show’s drastic decline in ratings and the scandalous ousting of former co-host Ann Curry.
“It was a hard time for everybody,” Matt said about the negativity the show received. “We were getting kicked around a lot. Some of it was self-inflicted and perhaps deserved.”
“I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that,” he continued. “It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well.”
Indeed, the show has suffered immensely in the ratings department since Ann Curry was let go and replaced by Savannah Guthrie. Since then, Matt himself has been the target of criticism over his alleged role in Ann’s departure, and the show’s dwindling popularity.
Though Matt has faced much of the backlash, NBC News’ former president Steve Capus is standing up for Matt, saying that the 55-year-old host is paying the price for a decision he was never behind; ‘When Matt was informed that we had made this decision [to fire Ann], his good counsel was to go slow, to take care of Ann, and to do the right things,” Capus explains. “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.”
For his part, Matt, is taking this experience as an opportunity to grow; “In some ways being No. 2 in the ratings is a real shot in the arm, a kick in the pants. It makes you hungrier … I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a fire lit under your ass.”
And, while Matt and The Today Show have seen better days, Matt says he and his huge paycheck are going to stay positive; “I’m not going to whine or get depressed. Who’s going to feel sorry for me? Nobody.”