It’s been a very tough year for Matt Lauer.
The Today Show host has come under extreme fire for how he and NBC fired Ann Curry, while his program has sank to second in the ratings behind Good Morning America.
Speaking to The Daily Beast about the departure of his ex-colleague, Lauer admits it didn’t exactly go smoothly.
“I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well,” says Lauer. “You don’t have to be Einstein to know that. It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well.”
Today is still struggling to recover, as Lauer says the series has been “kicked around a lot” but a lot of the damage has been “self-inflicted.”
Having been the top-rated morning program for 16 years, Today now draws nearly one million fewer households than Good Morning America on a daily basis.
What has led to this reversal?
“We want people to feel good about a portion of their morning and we got away from that,” Lauer said, adding that much of the darkness is gone, by design.”
Lauer concludes, however, that he’s the “luckiest guy I know” and he hopes to use the ratings decline as motivation:
“Who’s going to feel sorry for me? Nobody. In some ways being number-two in the ratings is a real shot in the arm, a kick in the pants. It makes you hungrier – I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a fire lit under your ass.”