Report: Matt Lauer almost jumped ship to ABC last year

Posted By KATE STANTON,  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM
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NBC's daytime talk drama continues.

According to a lengthy New York Magazine report, Matt Lauer nearly left the "Today" show for ABC last year, amid rumors that Peacock execs would replace him with Ryan Seacrest.

After Lauer heard the Seacrest rumors "outside the security gate at the White House Christmas party because Ann Curry had forgotten her driver’s license," he considered moving to ABC to launch a new daytime talk show with his former "Today" co-host Katie Couric. The talks went as high as Bob Iger, CEO of ABC parent Disney, who wanted Lauer to help ABC knock "Today" from its No. 1 ratings slot.

Lauer reportedly used his flirtation with ABC to sap $25 million from NBC as part of a new, two-year contract, disappointing ABC, who thought the deal was in the bag.

Despite Lauer's previous claims that he didn't want NBC to fire Curry, New York's Joe Hagan that Lauer's negotiations with the network would have given him enough sway to save her job:

"At the moment when he had maximum leverage with NBC, Lauer, as the multimillion-dollar megastar, could easily have saved her—but he didn’t. To the contrary, in signing a new contract to remain at the show for at least two more years, he tacitly ratified the plan to remove her. Which doesn’t make him a horrible person—it makes him, for better or worse, a pro."

But Lauer's job is still in jeopardy. Lauer's role in Ann Curry's departure and months of morning show drama has led to a slump in the ratings, with "Today" now trailing "Good Morning America."

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