In June of 2012, a tearful Ann Curry revealed that she was leaving the Today show. The decision to exit clearly hadn’t been Curry’s own to make: “For all of you that saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line — but man I did try,” she told viewers as colleagues Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales lent moral support.
To some, that support didn’t seem quite supportive enough — especially in Lauer’s case. Many viewers placed responsibility for Curry’s awkward ousting and the show’s dwindling ratings squarely on Lauer’s shoulders. Even Al Roker apparently played the blame game; in August, he made a quip about NBC anchors throwing each other “under the bus” that seemed aimed in Lauer’s direction. (NBC maintained that the joke had nothing to do with Curry.)
According to an interview with Lauer on The Daily Beast, things got so bad at one point that he told NBC Universal chief executive Steve Burke that he’d “get out of the way” if Burke thought Today would be better off without him. Burke brushed off Lauer’s offer, calling him “the best person who’s ever done this” — but even so, Lauer evidently still has some residual guilt over the Curry fiasco. READ FULL STORY »