"Today" co-host Matt Lauer reportedly offered to quit the NBC morning show. Howard Kurtz reports in The Daily Beast that Lauer made the offer after he became the target of negative press coverage following Ann Curry’s ouster.
In a meeting with NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke, Lauer said, “If you think the show’s better off without me, let me know, and I’ll get out of the way,” the story notes, citing Burke’s recollection of the meeting.
Burke said he responded, "You’re the best person who’s ever done this. We’ll get through this.”
Lauer, for his part, explains, “It was a hard time for everybody." He added, "We were getting kicked around a lot. Some of it was self-inflicted and perhaps deserved.”
Lauer received much of the blame for the hasty ouster of Curry, a move that Lauer said he fought against, trying to convince his bosses to give Curry more time before she was shuffled into a smaller role.
“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," said Steve Capus, who left his role as NBC News president last month.
As for rumors that NBC is considering replacing Lauer given the show’s recent ratings losses to "Good Morning America," Burke said the idea is "ridiculous."
“It’s all speculation and gossip,” Burke said. “It’s hurtful at some level, but it is what it is. The show went through a rough patch after the Ann Curry/Savannah Guthrie change. Our job is to make sure the show is as good as it can possibly be.”
Lauer said the show is taking on a lighter, more upbeat tone and is moving away from a tabloid-like focus. “We want people to feel good about a portion of their morning, and we got away from that,” he said.