Don't believe everything you read about Matt Lauer and Today.
So says executive producer Don Nash, who recently sat in on a focus group filled with women and heard their response to the question of what would cause them to stop watching the NBC morning program.
"Every one of them said, 'If Matt Lauer were to leave,'" Nash says. "Their opinions didn't square with what we had been reading in the papers and on websites."
That's for sure.
Lauer has been under major fire over the past few weeks, from reportedly making sexist remarks about female producers... to being responsible for Ann Curry's firing... to apologizing to a former intern for not being very nice.
But despite the criticism and despite the low Today ratings, Nash says the show would "be much worse" without Lauer.
"I can tell you unequivocally that the staff is not divided over whether Matt should stay or go. This staff loves Matt," the producer adds.
Yes, Nash concludes, Today has approached possible replacements for Lauer because his contract is up in 2014, but...
"We hope Matt stays forever."