"Today" co-host Matt Lauer reportedly was the driving force behind an interview between the show’s producer, Jim Bell, and the New York Times’ Bill Carter, which included Bell’s defense of Lauer, reports the New York Post’s Page Six.
The interview, which included an attack on “Today” rival “Good Morning America,” got so much attention that it has earned a nickname among TV insiders: the “Yom Kippur attack,” the story reports.
As previously reported, Bell denied that it was Lauer’s idea to remove co-host Ann Curry and denied that Lauer had been berating staff and had taken on some directional control of the show. The report received a number of comments after we posted it on the TVWeek website, with the consensus among early commenters being that no one was buying into Bell’s argument.
Now the Post cites sources saying that Bell reached out to journalists because Lauer was tired of the negative publicity. Said one source, according to the report: “Matt wanted Jim to do it. Matt was sick of being the punching bag.”
The report cites rumors that Bell could be out of his post at “Today” within a month, with talk that he could be moving on to a role at NBC Sports, the story adds.
Asked for comment, Bell said, "This is exactly the kind of false story that led me to do these interviews in the first place," according to the story.