Matt Lauer enjoyed years as the darling of the "Today Show," but are those days coming to an end? Maybe, sources tell RadarOnline. The salt-and-pepper haired newsman is reportedly concerned he's on the way out now that "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist has been named to co-host the 9 a.m. hour of the show.
What else? He'll reportedly have to take a pay cut if ratings for "Today" don't improve by November sweeps.
"Matt Lauer will be asked to take a significant cut in his $25 million salary if 'Today' doesn't win the key November sweeps," a source told Radar. "Matt is under contract so it will have to be a voluntary decision, but the argument will be made that if he doesn't agree to lose some of his salary then people's jobs will have to be cut. Bottom line is money will have to be saved somewhere and he will be asked to do the 'right thing' by his staff."
But, will he make that choice? Sources "behind the scenes" say its not likely. Why? His inflated ego.
Monster Behind the Scenes?
Lauer might play the nice guy on screen, but some insist he's a bear to deal with off the air. The New York Post reports that Lauer's "making all editorial decision, he's running the show and he's not listening to anyone...it's a huge problem."
He's laughing off the rumors, though, telling the Post to "Please print this … it's the most interesting and dangerous I've ever sounded!"
'Today' Producers Stick Up for Him
He might feel confident about his status on the show because producers are sticking up for him. Case in point: Producer Jim Bell went on the record with The Hollywood Reporter to say the rumors about him are categorically not true.
"We had to make some tough calls. We're taking some shots. But that's okay. We have the right team in place now. We're just trying to move forward here," Bell said.
In fact, producers are denying that Lauer was the reason for Ann Curry's departure from the morning show.
"I think it's really unfortunate how that played out. And obviously the transition didn't go quite as we had hoped. And Matt, I need to say for the record, really should not bear any of the blame for that," he said.
And then there's the problem of his declining popularity. According to a new survey, his "Q" score with views has dropped 25 percent.
"It raises a flag," Henry Schafer, executive vice president of Q Scores, told The New York Daily News. "These morning shows are driven by personalities - so there's a real challenge out there for NBC News."
And he's feeling the sting.
"Is it only 25 percent? Because it actually feels much worse," Lauer told the paper.
Ouch. At least Lauer will still have his millions if he does leave the show.
Do you think it's time for Matt Lauer to leave 'Today'?
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