In the wake of dumping Ann Curry as co-host, the “Today Show” is still reeling from all kinds of bad press, an estimated $40 million loss in advertising dollars, and the end of sixteen years of ratings dominance to “Good Morning America.” New Yorker Magazine published a lengthy story on the debacle Monday, pinning most of the blame on Matt Lauer.
The complaint against Lauer is that behind the scenes he openly complained about Curry and that on the air he “was becoming Bryant Gumbel.”
Though it was Curry who ended up being publicly humiliated when given the hook, one research company found that she wasn’t the problem; Lauer was:
[I]nternal research conducted by a company called SmithGeiger showed something different: When Lauer was onscreen with Curry, it was Lauer who became less appealing to viewers, not Curry. ‘He was looking aloof, a little bit holier-than-thou, and pompous,’ says a former NBC executive who viewed the reports. ‘He was becoming Bryant Gumbel.’ (Gumbel, Lauer’s close friend and frequent golf partner, left Today with a similar reputation.)
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