8 months ago
Matt Lauer’s abrupt firing from NBC News after accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior has left the network with a huge hole to fill. NBC made Lauer the face of morning television. He had been co-anchor of Today for 20 years and was being paid an annual salary in the $20 million range, according to The Wall Street Journal. He was fired on Wednesday after a staffer filed a complaint alleging he engaged in misconduct during NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
NBC News Chairman Andy Lack wrote a memo to the staff, saying the allegations made by the accuser represented “a clear violation of our company’s standards,” and that even though it was the first complaint he’d hear about Lauer in two decades, the network was “presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” reports WSJ. Later, Variety published a piece in which multiple unidentified women accused Lauer of inappropriate sexual behavior. The New York Times and NBC News reported two additional accusations.
Today generates over $500 million a year for NBC, according to WSJ. It is still the most-watched morning program among adults 25 to 54 years old. Now, NBC has to figure out what to do with Lauer’s spot. On Wednesday, Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie was joined by Hoda Kotb, who is an anchor on the 10 a.m. hour of the four-hour program. NBC has not disclosed any information about temporary or permanent plans to replace Lauer, but a source told WSJ that Kotb will co-host with Guthrie for the rest of the week.
A potential candidate is Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News host who joined NBC in Jan. She currently anchors the third hour of Today. Her show has posted disappointing ratings, according to WSJ, but she is a known figure to television viewers. She would be a natural choice, WSJ writes, if NBC veers away from the traditional man-woman co-anchor approach.