Speculation about who got Jamie Horowitz fired after 10 weeks overseeing NBC’s “Today” show has zeroed in on one of the show’s co-hosts: Matt Lauer.
Citing sources at NBC, the New York Post’s Page Six reports that the “Today” fixture was behind Horowitz’s firing, targeting Horowitz after Lauer learned that Horowitz planned to replace co-host Savannah Guthrie with Hoda Kotb.
“We’re told Lauer went to NBC News President Deborah Turness amid an anchor revolt sparked by rumors that, under a possible plan by Horowitz which had been discussed with NBC brass including Turness, Guthrie would be replaced by fourth-hour co-host Kotb and Natalie Morales could be eventually unseated as news reader by Josh Elliott,” the story reports.
As previously reported, Horowitz was fired Monday after only 10 weeks at the show, where he was brought in to supervise the show following a stint at ESPN. He left NBC amid reported conflicts with several members of the show’s staff and NBC News management.
According to Page Six, NBC will have to pay Horowitz about $3 million for the rest of his contract.
Horowitz’s hiring and swift firing was “characterized as bizarre and unsettling” inside NBC, reports Bill Carter in The New York Times.
He was said to have been let go after he alienated “key decision-makers at NBC News by pushing too hard and too quickly for potential changes on the show, especially among the prominent, on-air names,” Carter writes.
Once at NBC, Horowitz “presented himself as a change agent at ‘Today,’ which was what Ms. Turness was seeking when she hired him,” Carter’s report adds.
“Today” has been trying to regain leadership in the morning news ratings after losing it to ABC’s “Good Morning America” in 2012, but Horowitz reportedly didn’t understand the sensitive culture of “Today,” the story notes.
Carter reports: “One leak of a plan that was tied back to Mr. Horowitz suggested that he was discussing removing another longtime female cast member, Natalie Morales. Ms. Morales is well-liked on the show, and many of her supporters were upset that her post was suddenly threatened.”
The core of the cast on “Today” and management is expected to remain in place in the wake of the firing of Horowitz, Carter adds.