Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are Meredith Vieira AND Matt Lauer Both Leaving NBC’s Today Show? Say it Aint So!

In what can only be described as major bad news for the NBC network, reports are surfacing that BOTH Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer say they will be leaving the Today show later this year.

Some are wondering if the network can survive yet another high profile departure after the blow from Alec Baldwin yesterday that “30 Rock” is over.

Related: Alec Baldwin Says ’30 Rock’ Ending – Tina Fey Leaving the Show

When asked about the speculation, NBC press handlers said,

“There seems to be an awful lot of speculation around news anchors these days, and it’s not our practice to comment on any of it. Matt Lauer has a long term contract with NBC News and ‘Today. ”

True. But both host contracts are due to expire at the end of this year, and “ET” reported that Lauer had been telling everybody he planned to move on once his contract expired in December. And TV Guide was reporting earlier this week about Meredith’s desire to exit the show.

TV Guide says Vieira has been in discussions with NBC executives for several months about extending her contract, but she is said to be exhausted with the demanding early hours and is ready to move on.

Vieira also said that the health of her husband, who has battled multiple sclerosis and cancer, will be a factor in considering her future on the program.

It doesn’t appear that there is any personal friction between the two hosts, in fact they seem like they get along pretty well, even in live embarrassing moments like when Matt Lauer’s divorce turned into laughs on the show.

On critic stated,

“Of course NBC is going to deny it. They just lost ’30 Rock’ and now their morning news lineup is falling apart.”

There has been some speculation that Vieira, Lauer, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin are gracefully trying to exit the network before the Comcast NBC Universal deal begins to impact daily operations.

One insider commented,

“Comcast is going to chop up every bit of content they can mine from NBC and either charge for it or try to keep others from embedding it on the internet. The days of being able to freely use NBC content are over.”

THAT seems to make more sense than anything else – the big stars want to get behind NBC before the Comcast takeover is complete because they see what the future will look like and they don’t want any part of it.

But it could also be the oldest ploy in the Hollywood playbook – act like you’re going to leave just before your contract expires so they will offer you more money for the next season.

Somehow, in a sad way, that seems to make the most sense of all.

Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon – your move?

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