The search for the next host of Today feels like a reality competition series—with the lowest stakes imaginable and a thankless grand prize.
Last week, as the Today show’s agonizingly slow (and publicly denied) effort to expel Matt Lauer from its eco-system blistered open with stories in New York magazine and The New York Times, an old joke about academia—or maybe morning shows—came to mind: “Why is the infighting so vicious? Because the stakes are so low.” I’m not talking about money: This is, in network-ese, a “day-part” in which salaries are measured in the millions, ratings twitches in the tens of millions, and annual revenue in the half-billion dollars that Today is said to bring NBC. But culturally, who is going to replace Matt Lauer no longer amounts to a hill of beans except to the people involved, and the slightly less than 2 percent of Americans who watch the show. This sort of changing of the guard is often described as a tectonic shift, but if so, it’s an earthquake that’s happening on a tiny planet populated by stick figures inside a snow globe. READ FULL STORY