One source said she wasn’t certain what Lauer’s issue with Benedict was exactly, “he just was never sold on him taking over” in 2005. “Matt was never happy, and even, from what I’m being told, tried to get Katie (Couric) to take the job somehow, but it never panned out for her to move to Rome, plus she had her daytime talk show that she was working on.”
NBC executives would not return phone calls left seeking comment on this most recent Lauer allegation, but “if history shows us anything, it’s that whatever Matt wants he gets, and later on, the suits at 30 Rock will fall all over themselves to be the scapegoats. You watch,” one of the sources said.
Lauer’s popularity is at an all-time low, despite his stellar job hosting the Olympics Opening ceremony last summer. Rumors have been circulating for months though, that the falling ratings at NBC’s “Today Show” are squarely, 100% his fault, and have nothing whatsoever to do with how nails-on-chalkboard annoying Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda are later in the program.
“He obviously feels helpless (as the current host of the horrible program),” a source said. “And he had to prove how (devilishly handsome and manly) he is by using his (unparalleled industry clout) to oust the former pope. It’s an odd (-ly ingenious) power-play move, but one that seems to have worked (naturally. He can do no wrong. Suck it, Tom Cruise.)”