Don't blame Matt Lauer. That's the message Jim Bell tried to send yesterday in an interview centered on the troubles at Today.
With ratings still in decline and with the Ann Curry firing debacle still hanging over the program, the executive producer attempted to shift blame away from his star.
“It was definitely not Matt’s call,” Bell said, responding to rumors that Lauer is to blame for Curry's dismissal. “[Matt] is the host and does not have management responsibility. It was not his call. That was my call.
But Bell's sincerity is now being called into question.
Insiders tell The New York Post that Lauer was "sick of being the punching bag" for Today and forced Bell to take responsibility for Curry.
“Matt feels that Jim didn’t take accountability for all the ratings drama at Today. [Jim] was away at the Olympics, getting all the glory,” a source told the newspaper. “So Lauer forced Jim to stand in the firing line."
Where does the truth lie? We may never know.
But we can hear the glasses toasting at Good Morning America right at this very moment.