Matt Lauer Ann Curry: Lauer admits 'we did not handle Curry's Today Exit well. "You don't have to be Einstein to know that."
Mar 11, 2013 01:22 PM EDT
The Today show is currently struggling for ratings, and host Matt Lauer has finally adressed the controversial exit of co-anchor Ann Curry last year.
"I don't think the show and the network handled the transition well. You don't have to be Einstein to know that," Lauer told The Daily Beast. "We were seen as a family, and we didn't handle a family matter well."
Despite speculation that it was Lauer himself who advocated Curry's departure from Today, Lauer claims he reportedly threatened to resign if the show's executives thought it would be best.
"When Matt was informed that we had made this decision, his good counsel was to go slow, to take care of Ann, and to do the right things," former NBC News president Steve Capus told The Daily Beast. "He was quietly and publicly a supporter of Ann's throughout the entire process. It is unfair that Matt has shouldered an undue amount of blame for a decision he disagreed with."
Lauer did admit that Curry was not his first choice for co-anchor and would have rather had Katie Couric back. He also reportedly reached out to Couric before Curry's hire to see if she would be interested in returning to co-anchor Today. Couric was intrigued by the opportunity, but also hoped that NBC would eventually pick up her daytime talk show, which they rejected. Curry then took her show to ABC, who picked up Katie.
Lauer believes that though the show's dynamic has changed now with co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, it is for the better.
"We're choosing more inspiring stories," he tells The Daily Beast. "It's a much more positive show, a more uplifting show. Much of the darkness is gone, by design."
The show's second place finish to ABC's Good Morning America in the ratings only fuels Lauer to reclaim the top spot.
"In some ways being No. 2 in the ratings is a real shot in the arm, a kick in the pants," he tells the Daily Beast. "It makes you hungrier. ... I don't think it's a bad thing to have a fire lit under your a--."