It's been almost nine months since Ann Curry's body was roughly shoved into a supply closet marked "FOR EMERGENCIES" at 30 Rockefeller Center, and her former co-host Matt Lauer has just given birth to a whopper of a story about her departure.
Things haven't been great for Lauer since Curry left. Today's ratings are tanking, his hairline is quickly receding into memory and, worst of all, everyone still blames him for Curry's abrupt, tearful goodbye.
America doesn't even confine its hatred of Matt Lauer to America. It goes out of its way to hate him overseas:
People would stop Lauer on the street and complain about Curry's banishment. While Lauer was riding in a London elevator at the Olympics, an American woman got on, saw him and said: "I hate what you've done. I will never watch you again."
Now, however, Lauer appears to have retroactively decided that he's on Curry's side. When he thinks back on it, he was all for phasing Ann out slooowly, delicately, and with the utmost sensitivity for her feelings. It was NBC—an angry entity kept alive on a miserable diet of gristle and the dreams of those who gave up too soon—that gave her the axe.
[Former NBC News president Steve Capus] and Lauer maintained that they needed to take their time and make sure Curry was comfortable with the change. Others in the room were unmoved.
But Matt Lauer? He's a—well he's just a real swell, stand-up guy. Come to think of it, Matt Lauer (says Matt Lauer) is very, very mad at NBC for being so cruel to dear Ann Curry, the best worst friend he ever ha[te]d.
"I don't think the show and the network handled the transition well. You don't have to be Einstein to know that...It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn't handle a family matter well."
For its part, NBC fills the role of the villain well. There's even a line in the piece about how senior executives were "furious" that Curry cried on television when she left. (The Atlantic Wire points out that many of the anti-NBC, pro-Matt Lauer "sources" quoted by the Beast sound like NBC representatives eager to cast Lauer as a hero in order to save ratings.)
The best anecdote in the whole profile, though, is this paragraph describing an awkward lunch Lauer and Curry had at the Four Seasons just before she was given the boot, in which he essentially admitted he'd never been nuts about her, and she warned him that if Today fucked her over, Today would get fucked over (What were they drinking—truth serum?):
Lauer and Curry had a candid talk over lunch at the Four Seasons. He acknowledged she hadn't been his first choice for co-host, but said that was in the past. Curry said that both Lauer and the show would take a hit if she was thrown overboard, and he agreed. Lauer suggested that she try to get a meeting with [NBC Universal chief executive Steve Burke] and resolve the situation. He also advised Curry, who didn't employ an agent, to hire one quickly.
There's that old Matt-Ann chemistry America loved.