The Matt Lauer firing rumors have started up once again.
It seems as if every year there's a report that The Today Show anchor will be relieved of his duties, with past claims pointing to a severe drop in Lauer's popularity as the basis for his possible dismissal.
The anchor has hung on every time, however, continuing to lead the morning program even as it loses viewers to GMA on ABC.
In this case, In Touch Weekly alleges that Lauer’s high salary simply does not justify his role.
It would be one thing if Today still dominated the ratings and, therefore, was bringing in an endless amount of advertiser dollars.
But it's pretty much on part with GMA these days, following years of owning its morning program rival in the ratings.
“Matt’s paid a lot of money, upward of $20 million a year," an insider tells the aforementioned tabloid, adding of network executives:
"They don’t want to continue to give that kind of huge paycheck to one person anymore.”
If Lauer really is on the way out (and that remains a giant IF), NBC allegedly has a replacement lined up already.
This same magazine report claims that co-anchor Willie Geist "is being groomed to take over Matt’s position.”
What makes Geist so attractive to the network? He has a fresh outlook and could revamp the show with his “boyish enthusiasm," according to the unnamed source.
Lauer signed a two-year contract with NBC in June of 2014.
Technically, therefore, he doesn't even need to be fired.
The network can simply choose to not sign Lauer to a new deal.
Again, this all seems unlikely to occur, even if Lauer is no longer as beloved as he once was.
Still, if he does leave NBC, it's pretty clear where he'll end up, right? Over on ABC in order to stick it to his former bosses?
Can you say Live with Kelly and Matt?!?