Matt Lauer is weathering some withering press these days. "Not a Good Morning" is the headline of a detailed New York magazine article that explains how Lauer's appeal nosedived after Ann Curry was pulled from the show.
Kudos to New York's Joe Hagan for the word "hosticide." The context: "If Lauer is guilty in the hosticide of Ann Curry (he’s certainly not innocent), he’s far from the only guilty party."
The article documents struggles behind the scenes at NBC and the sniping from ABC's "Good Morning America," which has overtaken "Today" in the ratings. The article concludes by citing "smart people in the TV business" who say that "Today" cannot retain its No. 1 ranking with Lauer. The article cites speculation that Lauer, whose contract is up in two years, could leave within the year.
But where is Lester Holt, the weekend anchor of "Today," in this discussion?
On Tuesday, two "Today" viewers in Central Florida pointed to Holt as the logical successor. Holt has gravitas, and he has earned the job through his hard work for NBC.
Holt would be sensational with Savannah Guthrie, one viewer told me. This viewer also wanted an increased role for Geist. NBC and "Today" need to play up the team, rather than suggesting that Lauer alone is the franchise.
The other "Today" viewer wanted Holt and Erica Hill, the weekend "Today" team, moved together to the weekday show.
Who would be your choice to replace Lauer?
You have to hope that the powers at NBC News and Comcast are thinking about the viewers. And the publicity department would be wise to ditch branding the "Today" team as a family. You don't do to your family what NBC did to Ann Curry.