Matt Lauer Offered To Leave Today Show
We're learning new details today about that bombshell Matt Lauer interview directly from Howard Kurtz, the Washington Bureau Chief for thedailybeast.com, who spoke exclusively to Lauer about the behind-the-scenes drama at the Today show.
Kurtz told INSIDE EDITION, "Matt Lauer was extraordinarily candid. He wanted to make clear that he didn't approve of the way NBC had mishandled the Ann Curry debacle. And he wanted to explain how the Today show is evolving and how he thinks it can come back."
Lauer insists that despite being blamed for the fiasco, ousting Curry wasn't his idea.
Kurtz said, "He initially tried to save her job, and then he tried to slow things down because he knew that if it was a messy divorce, and it certainly turned out to be messy, it would look bad for the show."
Lauer revealed that before Ann Curry was named co-host, he reached out to his old Today show pal Katie Couric to rejoin the show.
"It would have been a bombshell on morning television. Lots of people would have tuned in. But, because it was tied up with the syndicated show that she is now doing, and that Matt was thinking of joining, it all became too complicated," said Kurtz.
Kurtz says Lauer is well aware that many viewers blame him for mishandling the way Ann Curry was ousted. The head of NBC News even revealed that Lauer offered to quit to save the show.
"If you think the show's better off without me, let me know, and I'll get out of the way," said Lauer.
But according to Kurtz, the anchor, who is reportedly paid a whopping $20 million a year, is determined to stay and put the Today show back on top again.
Kurtz said, "He loves that show. He devoted his adult career to that show and he doesn't want to go out as No. 2."
Kurtz is facing criticism of his own today for what some are calling a 'softball' interview designed to rehabilitate Matt Lauer's image.
Kurz commented, "I asked Matt Lauer and everybody else a lot of tough questions. Does Matt Lauer want to use this kind of interview to look forward and repair some of the damage to his image? Of course he does. That's the way it works."