'Today' Producer Jim Bell Defends Matt Lauer, Says 'GMA' Is a Tabloid NY Times
"Today" producer Jim Bell tells The New York Times' Bill Carter that the decision to remove Ann Curry from the NBC morning program was his call, and not co-host Matt Lauer's, as some reports have suggested.
“It was definitely not Matt’s call," Bell said. “He is the host and does not have management responsibility. It was not his call. That was my call.”
Bell also dismissed reports that Lauer has berated staff recently and has taken on some directional control of the show. "These stories portraying Matt in a negative light are just preposterous,” Bell said.
As for "Good Morning America," Bell described his show as a “more serious show," while "GMA" is "doing something else.” When Carter asked whether he meant "GMA" is a tabloid-style show, Bell responded, "That's what I'm saying," according to the story.
In response, an ABC News representative pointed to "GMA’s” ratings wins during the past six weeks. ABC also noted that "Today" aired an interview with Kris Jenner about her breast implants, which ran during a moment of silence for the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Bell added that Curry is now in a role that she's "naturally suited for," as she was removed from her previous job as co-host and now is a special correspondent.
"Today” isn't facing budget cuts to pay Lauer's reported $25 million a year, Bell added. As for a recent report that Lauer's salary would be reduced, Bell noted, "That could not be more wrong,” the story says.