“Today” show mainstay Matt Lauer may be forced to take a cut in his hefty salary as the NBC morning show suffers through a ratings slump, the New York Daily News reports.
A rep for the show denied the rumor, but a source close to the situation reportedly told RadarOnline: “Matt Lauer will be asked to take a significant cut in his $25 million salary if ‘Today’ doesn’t win the key November sweeps.”
As has been widely reported, “Today’s” chief rival, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” has turned things around after years of coming in second to “Today” in the morning ratings. While the NBC show has struggled with personnel changes — notably bumping Ann Curry from the lineup and replacing her with Savannah Guthrie — “GMA” has solidified its newfound ratings edge over “Today.”
The Daily News adds: “Lauer’s popularity with viewers is in a free-fall. Lauer’s ‘likability’ numbers have plummeted by 25% in the last year, according to the influential Q Scores.
“Still, the ‘Today’ show has always been a cash cow for NBC, and remains one of the network’s top earners, generating a huge chunk of NBC News’ annual $2 billion in revenues.”
Word of a possible pay cut for Lauer comes on the heels of news that another NBC star, Jay Leno, recently agreed to what has been reported as a 50% pay cut, bringing his annual salary to about $15 million.