Matthew Todd "Matt" Lauer (born December 30, 1957) is an American television journalist best known as the host of NBC's The Today Show since 1997. He was previously a news anchor in New York and a local talk-show host in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. He was also host of PM Magazine (or "Evening Magazine" 1980-1986) and worked for ESPN in the 1980s as a sideline reporter. In the early 1990s, Lauer hosted segments of HBO Entertainment News.
He was born in New York, New York, the son of Marilyn Kolmer, a boutique owner, and Jay Robert Lauer, a bicycle-company executive. Lauer is of Romanian descent on his father's side, as seen on the Today Show's "Finding Our Roots." His parents divorced during his youth, and his father died in 1997. Lauer had become co-host of The Today Show replacing longtime host Bryant Gumbel in early 1997, not long before his father's death. In 1999, both Lauer and his cohost Katie Couric initially resisted participation in Today's proposed series about their family roots. The series turned out to be a hit, and Lauer was moved by what he learned about his immigrant ancestors. "My dad was Jewish. My mom is not. So I was not raised anything. I do feel a desire now to find something spiritual. Getting married and wanting to have kids has something to do with that."
Lauer is a School of Media Arts and Studies (formally the School of Telecommunications) graduate of Ohio University. He attended Ivy Tech, but dropped out. In 1997, he received his undergraduate degree from Ohio University at the age of 39. He had dropped out of Ohio University's School of Telecommunications in the Spring of 1979. The university awarded him his remaining credits by counting his journalism experience as "independent study" towards his degree. Lauer began his television career in 1979 as a producer of the 12 o'clock news for WOWK-TV in Huntington, West Virginia. By 1980, he had become an on-air reporter on the 6 and 11 o'clock newscasts. He then started to move around the country to further his career, hosting a number of weekly information and talk programs in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. He was also host of PM Magazine from 1980-1986 and worked for ESPN in the 1980s. He worked on the show "Talk of the Town" during 1988.