Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Yesterday and Today
March 25, 2013 4:19 PM   Subscribe

If Matt Lauer doesn’t want to be seen with sharp knives, it’s because last summer his co-host Ann Curry was discovered with one in her back. Five million viewers, the majority of them women, would not soon forget how Curry, the intrepid female correspondent and emotionally vivid anchor, spent her last appearance on the Today show couch openly weeping, devastated at having to leave after only a year. The image of Matt Lauer trying to comfort her—and of Curry turning away from his attempted kiss—has become a kind of monument to the real Matt Lauer, forensic evidence of his guilt. What followed was the implosion of the most profitable franchise in network television.
posted by Horace Rumpole (91 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
On a related note, Matt Lauer is apparently slated to be the next Jeopardy! host when Trebek retires in 2016.
posted by threeants at 4:25 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


On a relateder note, the Al Roker "under the bus" clip mentioned in the article is pretty funny/awkward.
posted by threeants at 4:28 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Really? That sucks.
posted by jonmc at 4:28 PM on March 25, 2013


I'll take Bad News for $400, Alex.

On a related note, Matt Lauer is apparently slated to be the next Jeopardy! host when Trebek retires in 2016.

What is news that makes you think "You thought the previous host seemed like a smug bastard -- just you wait"?

Team Curry, all the way here.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:33 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Trebek retires in 2016

Wait.. this is true? I thought Dinosaur Comics was just having a thought experiment..
posted by mediocre at 4:36 PM on March 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'll take potent potables for a thousand, Matt. No, seriously: just pour me a fuckin' drink!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:41 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is why I don't get up until Kelly & Michael.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:44 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


"If ABC could poach Lauer, then Today, NBC’s cash cow, would fall from its perch, Good Morning America would be ascendant, and the entire NBC network would crumple like a house of cards."

Don't they teach copy editors about mixed metaphors any more?
posted by gingerest at 4:45 PM on March 25, 2013 [60 favorites]


Probably trained at NBC.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:46 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, it's like a real life and sad episode of 30 Rock.
posted by kmz at 4:47 PM on March 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Only in this version, Kenneth is the Smoke Monster.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:48 PM on March 25, 2013 [25 favorites]


Meanwhile, on the opposite end of its schedule, NBC is (not so quietly) planning to throw Jay ("Still #1 in my Time Slot, Suckers") Leno under the bus (and possibly over to an 11PM slot at FOX), with Jimmy Fallon moving the Tonight Show to New York while they court Howard Stern for the 12:35 show, which he is apparently openly mocking. I think the full-takeover by KabletownComcast has sent NBC Programming into Full Suicidal Mode.

Well, it'll be fun to watch. (More fun than most of what's ON NBC)
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:48 PM on March 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm not of the morning show audience, so could somebody please explain if Matt Lauer is supposed to come off as anything other than hatefully contemptible? Because that's how he comes off.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:49 PM on March 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


Putting Lauer as host of Jeopardy is the wrong move. Everyone knows Ken Jennings should be getting that job.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:51 PM on March 25, 2013 [160 favorites]


Jack's trying to tank the network!
posted by klangklangston at 4:54 PM on March 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


NBC is (not so quietly) planning to throw Jay ("Still #1 in my Time Slot, Suckers") Leno under the bus (and possibly over to an 11PM slot at FOX), with Jimmy Fallon moving the Tonight Show to New York

This, I'm OK with. Especially if they can convince Timberlake to up his appearances.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:54 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Putting Lauer as host of Jeopardy is the wrong move. Everyone knows Ken Jennings should be getting that job.

That's a great idea, then they could move to a format where when you win more than a certain number of shows, you get to issue a challenge to the host. Win and you become the new host, lose, and you are banished! Not just from the show, but the whole country.
posted by skewed at 4:56 PM on March 25, 2013 [46 favorites]


This, I'm OK with. Especially if they can convince Timberlake to up his appearances.

If The Roots end up as the house band on the Tonight Show, I may have hope for America after all.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 4:59 PM on March 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


There's something really unlikeable about Lauer. His cheating on his wife, his Woody Woodpecker head, his annoying personality---he seems icky now, like a salesman who looks in the mirror all the time thinking he's a Calvin Klein model with intelligence and charisma when he's only gotten to where he is for looking like an ordinary neighbor. I don't know why the just can't get rid of him. He's no BriWi or (now retired) Charlie Gibson.
posted by discopolo at 5:01 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"If ABC could poach Lauer, then Today, NBC’s cash cow, would fall from its perch, Good Morning America would be ascendant, and the entire NBC network would crumple like a house of cards."

- Joe Hagan

"If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."

- Zapp Brannigan, 25-star general.
posted by mhoye at 5:01 PM on March 25, 2013 [73 favorites]


If only Joe Rogan had spoken those words instead.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:04 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


When Chelsea Handler joked to him on Today earlier this month, “You have a worse reputation than I do,” Lauer’s smile sharpened into something that wouldn’t make it past airport security.

I loathe Chelsea Handler and don't think she's funny, but this was a brave and funny barb. Haha
posted by discopolo at 5:04 PM on March 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Can someone explain the Late Night / Tonight Show thing to me? It all sound so Ship of Thesus.

Fallon currently hosts a show in NYC. The talk is that NBC "moves" the filming of Tonight to NYC, puts Fallon at the helm, and it's apparently a big coup… but what's different? Will he have to start doing man on the street interviews? Is it just timeslots? Will I finally be able to see Jimmy and The Roots and still go to bed before midnight?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 5:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


“He was becoming Bryant Gumbel.”

Ha, ha!

Fire all the bastards, and bring back Ann Curry!
posted by R. Mutt at 5:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I credit Matt Lauer with teaching me to distrust the news. When he emerged, I was a pre-teen and I found him oddly distasteful—but I came from one of those traditional (read: old) families that watched the network news every night, talked about Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite with reverence, and never questioned the news. (They still don't; my mom tries to talk to me about the antics on the morning "news" every time we talk.) Matt Lauer, with his off-putting unwholesomeness, changed all that for me.

Thank you, you terrible little man.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:18 PM on March 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


That you folks watch Matt Lauer enough to have these opinions on Matt Lauer is the unsettling thing.
posted by xmutex at 5:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [46 favorites]


Oh my God, Matt Lauer is a huge baby. Chelsea Handler's bosses at Comcast made her stop making jokes about Matt Lauer on her show.

I guess if I were him, with his average looks (when they have guys with square jaws and sparkling eyes all over the country dying for his job), level of intelligence, and whiny manchild personality, I'd have a fragile ego too. I guess he's lucky to have his brohans at the network.
posted by discopolo at 5:45 PM on March 25, 2013


NBC's ratings plummet from first to worst

"When the official numbers are completed Thursday, NBC will finish this sweeps month not only far behind its regular network competitors, but also well behind the Spanish-language Univision. No broadcast network has ever before finished a television season sweeps month in fifth place."
posted by chrchr at 5:45 PM on March 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'd never guessed about the behind-the-scenes drama before hearing the rumors that Ann Curry was getting axed a few weeks before the tearful goodbye... something about Lauer's demeanor makes me believe he's every bit the calculating ego-maniac, though.

Want to talk about post-Curry implosion... What the hell is this? Lauer poking fun at his critics with some kind of elaborate sexual assault joke? A "To Catch a Predator" style expose to preempt a hostile takeover by MSNBC's most affable bro-porter?
posted by Gable Oak at 5:46 PM on March 25, 2013


Everyone knows Ken Jennings should be getting that job.

Er, What is news that makes ME think "You thought the previous host seemed like a smug bastard -- just you wait"?
posted by NorthernLite at 5:52 PM on March 25, 2013


That you folks watch Matt Lauer enough to have these opinions on Matt Lauer is the unsettling thing.

Not all machines in the gym have their own TVs. Many are forced to suffer through his face and the closed captioning.

And I'm personally pretty interested in the idea of what makes someone likeable. If you think about it, Matt Lauer's possible fall may end up bring a cautionary tale. Or a tale about how a loser can be protected at the expense of a winner. Or the fickleness of likeability.

Likeability and sustaining likeability, I think, is incredibly important to the future of someone's career, especially when all other things are equal or vary a little bit. In hiring decisions, impressions are important. But your career trajectory may rely a great deal more on likeability than merit.

We may learn from Matt Lauer's fallen likeability that no one is ever extremely safe or so charismatic that they're the only person a network needs to bet on.

In short, learning to be nice to coworkers and not being a whiny self-centered asshole can help your career and work relationships. Or so I like to think.
posted by discopolo at 6:02 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


In my ideal world, John Hodgman will be the new host of Jeopardy. Do we have time to get that done before evil is allowed to flourish?
posted by Ber at 6:02 PM on March 25, 2013 [47 favorites]


All this over a morning chat show? Wow. FWIW - Ann Curry is 1,000,000 times the reporter that Matt Lauer is or ever could be.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:08 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would suggest that Matt Lauer 'jumped the shark' back when he shaved his head.
posted by mikelieman at 6:10 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


but what's different? Will he have to start doing man on the street interviews? Is it just timeslots?

Timeslot, which is a big deal, and budget. Who knows what might change because of it, but the Tonight Show budget is much larger than Late Night's budget.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:11 PM on March 25, 2013


I'm always a little amazed that so many people have time to watch TV in the morning. I think that I've seen the Today show or the other ones a handful times in my life and I was delirious with the flu for most of those.
posted by octothorpe at 6:23 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that "because last summer his co-host Ann Curry was discovered with one in her back" was a metaphor and not a description of a high profile celebrity murder that I had somehow not heard anything about. It's been a long day.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 6:28 PM on March 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


NBC's ratings plummet from first to worst

Having watched the way NBC/GE/Universal/whatever the hell has relentlessly gobbled up cable channels and turned each one into a stinking desert of shit, nothing could make me happier than a mass exodus of NBC execs out the top windows of 30 Rock.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:35 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm amazed that this is even a topic of discussion. I thought these morning shows were all known to be nothing but pablum and advertising tie-ins for other varieties of pablum.
posted by kiltedtaco at 6:38 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I'm always a little amazed that so many people have time to watch TV in the morning. I think that I've seen the Today show or the other ones a handful times in my life and I was delirious with the flu for most of those."

I know - the last time I watched it was like 25 years ago when I was working a 3rd shift job.
posted by AnnElk at 6:40 PM on March 25, 2013


I'm not of the morning show audience, so could somebody please explain if Matt Lauer is supposed to come off as anything other than hatefully contemptible? Because that's how he comes off.

I always got the same impression too, but it always seemed like I was the only one put off by him; like it was not acceptable to even consider him anything but a nice young man on the TV. He's like an anti-Brian Williams. Williams is a bright, quick guy who seems like his only struggle is to maintain composure and not to crack jokes. (In a good way.) Lauer seems like a lump who is struggling to fit in, in all the wrong ways. Like Michael Scott. Not only does he wish he was the popular guy, he is jealous of the people who get to be the popular guy's friends.

But what really galls me is that NBC pretty consistently has the better talent and shows, and they do everything to ruin them. Zucker is, I believe, the same idiot who defended their "no schedule" schedule by saying "our fans will come find the shows they want to watch." Any success they have is in spite of their best efforts. "Today" was successful with Katie Couric. Katie Couric leaves and "Today" stops being successful. This is Ann Curry's fault how??! And NOT Lauer's fault how??!

I'm always a little amazed that so many people have time to watch TV in the morning. I think that I've seen the Today show or the other ones a handful times in my life and I was delirious with the flu for most of those.

They have three different audiences:

1- Stay at home parents. It's the background noise for the household.

2- Morning get-up-and-go types. They only watch the show for a few minutes while they shave and eat breakfast. They only see a few segments of the show, and probably time their morning to certain features of the show. "Time to leave, they just threw it to my neck of the woods!"

3- The people who never stop watching TV.

If you want to know who the audience of a program is, watch the ads.
posted by gjc at 6:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


From the article: Lauer’s unhappiness was evident to Bell. A former Harvard football player with a garrulous personality, Bell was ascendant at NBC, a 45-year-old acolyte of the legendary sports producer Dick Ebersol. In addition to running Today, Bell had been named executive producer of NBC’s Olympics coverage (emphasis mine).

I'm never in a position to watch his antics on the morning shows, but I'd *just about* blocked out his ridiculous behaviors during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I'd wondered why he was the talking head behind that idiocy, and now I know why.
posted by librarianamy at 6:44 PM on March 25, 2013


This story makes me wonder: How long until breakfast shows (and TV networks) are irrelevant? Until all programming is online and on demand? Matt Lauer got $25 million dollars? For what? Are people actually buying the stuff advertised on morning shows?

As for this debacle, if their executive producers were any good at all, they would've been aware that, like those before her, Katie Couric could move onto greener pastures. You always keep your eye on new talent. Have him/her hang out at some network parties, get a feel for who gets on with who. If they had, they wouldn't've had to move someone in who didn't have good chemistry by default like they did. Poor managers of people, to a man looks like, and now they're being embarrassed in a national magazine read by their peers and advertisers.

And as much as the critics hate Jay Leno, they need to leave the golden goose alone. Are his demos that undesirable? Is Leno like the late night equivalent of "Hee-Haw" or something? Because if that's not the case, they need to lay off for a bit, seems to me, until they can get themselves together. And when I saw the stuff in the news about Fallon moving in, almost as if hadn't already been told, I just thought, who is running the show at 30 Rock? Pat Weaver would not be amused.

Well, now I'm gonna go look for some old David Garroway/J. Fred Muggs clips.
posted by droplet at 6:47 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, if "Jeopardy" decides to put in Lauer or John Hodgeman, it's going off my DVR. Anderson Cooper is the man for that job. Anyone else is a pretender.
posted by gjc at 6:47 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait.. this is true? I thought Dinosaur Comics was just having a thought experiment..

That was brilliant, but it got one thing wrong. The third contestant is not some dude. He is Sean Connery.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:06 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"But what really galls me is that NBC pretty consistently has the better talent and shows, and they do everything to ruin them. Zucker is, I believe, the same idiot who defended their "no schedule" schedule by saying "our fans will come find the shows they want to watch." Any success they have is in spite of their best efforts. "Today" was successful with Katie Couric. Katie Couric leaves and "Today" stops being successful. This is Ann Curry's fault how??! And NOT Lauer's fault how??!"

Oh my Christ, this is right on the money. NBC goes out of their way to wreck shows then seems baffled by the fact that so many of their shows suck.

I can't wait for 30 Rock and The Office to be gone and for them to just have an hour block of a sucking chest wound because they've destroyed everything good that could have taken their places.
posted by klangklangston at 7:10 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hey guys just wanted to chime in with me saying I don't watch these shows and don't have a tv or a living room or a couch to sit on or electricity or anything.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:19 PM on March 25, 2013 [40 favorites]


PAULEY+GUMBEL 5EVA
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:24 PM on March 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Hey guys just wanted to chime in with me saying I don't watch these shows and don't have a tv or a living room or a couch to sit on or electricity or anything.

I have a television set, but I don't have electricity, so I have to watch tv by candlelight.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:26 PM on March 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


For those wondering aloud about the relevance of morning shows: Today banked $500-million for NBC last year. Quite simply, no Today show = no NBC News.
posted by docgonzo at 7:27 PM on March 25, 2013


I am really, really old, because I remember when Jane Pauley got canned for younger, cuter Deborah Norville, and that there were plenty of rumors that the only reason she was even slightly gracious about it was that NBC gave her a primetime show of her own. Deborah Norville was ousted during her maternity leave because she had no chemistry with Bryant Gumbel. Eventually even cuter Katie Couric went from being correspondent to co-anchor.

Couric didn't have any trouble hanging on to top spot, and when she moved on, Meredith Viera hung in there for almost five years. But it seems like this is the same old business with "Today" - it's always the woman anchor who loses her job when the ratings start to dip. Al Roker's been with "Today" since 1996, and I think he was referring to a much longer history than this with the "under the bus" quip.
posted by gingerest at 7:28 PM on March 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Once when I was a kid accompanying my dad on a work trip, we stopped in some, like HoJos in upstate New York, and they had a brochure whose theme was that Al Roker had been surprised in the bed of the hotel (because he wasn't leaving because it was so comfortable or something). I grabbed a whole bunch of them and used them for 'zines, because they had all sorts of great Al Roker Surprised In Bathtub, Al Roker Surprised In Kitchenette sort of pictures in them. Now I miss them.
posted by klangklangston at 7:36 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Whenever I watch Today for any extended period of time, I can feel my brain shrinking.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


now if we could only fine-tune this to make "Fox & Friends" implode...
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 7:45 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just want to know why online stories like this have to be split across eleventy billion separate pages.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:56 PM on March 25, 2013


I just want to know why online stories like this have to be split across eleventy billion separate pages.

Why? The reason starts with "ADS" and ends with money.
posted by eriko at 8:01 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jonathan, the more pages get hits, the more the online magazine can ask for advertising. When I worked at Slate, we went to a multiple page format like that because we wanted to count as many hits as possible. Same thing for why online publications use thumbnails they want you to embiggen -- more hits.
posted by emcat8 at 8:03 PM on March 25, 2013



I just want to know why online stories like this have to be split across eleventy billion separate pages


Instapaper works wonderfully for this. It automatically flips through all the pages and collates them nicely. It doesn't work for all sites, but for NY its flawless.
posted by cacofonie at 8:12 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bah. The correct successor to Alex Trebek is Brad Rutter who had literally never lost a game of Jeopardy until Watson (and of whom it can still truly be said that no person has ever beaten him.)

But I could consider Bob Harris.

Jennings, they should bring on to write.

Fortunately, the Lauer thing is just a "unnamed source says he's being considered" thing.
posted by Zed at 8:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Curry] frequently stumbled over the words on the teleprompter and her intensity sometimes made her difficult to watch during interviews with tragedy victims.

Because watching a network bobblehead with an awkward, plastered-on smile asking such hard-hitting questions as "When you learned you had suffered third-degree burns over most of your body, how did that make you feel?" isn't difficult at all.

I'll take Curry's more human approach over that any day.
posted by Spatch at 8:19 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


DRAMA

I know little about Matt Lauer and less about Ann Curry. In fact I'm not actually sure if I've ever heard of Ann Curry before, and basically all I knew about Lauer was that he was some newsesque person. From the description of the article, and some of the comments here, I was expecting something more than "Matt Lauer didn't really get along well with Ann Curry, made it known to his bosses who already knew it from the onscreen chemistry, and didn't fight for her job when he renegotiated his own contract."

I was expecting something more along the lines of "Matt Lauer is history's greatest monster, and here's why." That, sadly and embarrassingly, piqued my sense of schadenfreude, and impelled me to read all eight pages of that crap, thinking that surely the monsterism must be on display on the next page. No... maybe the next page? OK, gotta be the next page....

I can't believe I read that crap.
posted by Flunkie at 8:21 PM on March 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


This, I'm OK with. Especially if they can convince Timberlake to up his appearances.

I don't usually watch talk-shows (except for Larry Sanders re-runs) but years ago I dropped by my sister's place, and she was watching Ellen...
posted by ovvl at 8:45 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


When Lauer first joined Today, a columnist for the Memphis alt weekly described him as "chihuahua-eyed." I can't help but remember that every time I watch the show.
posted by Toothless Willy at 9:09 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't for the life of me find it now, but didn't Talk Soup have a clip of Ann Curry saying "thank you, good morning, thank you" over and over? I don't have particularly strong feelings about Lauer or Curry, but that clip was comedy gold.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:55 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good morning good morning.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 10:53 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


And this can only be good for Ann, as I can't imagine asking at least one parent a week how they are feeling the day after their child was murdered before transitioning to fun and flirty sneakers for spring to be very good for one's mental health.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 10:57 PM on March 25, 2013


>In my ideal world, John Hodgman will be the new host of Jeopardy.

In my ideal world, John Hodgman will be the new host of The Today Show.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:16 PM on March 25, 2013


In my ideal world, John Hodgman will be the new host of The Today Show.

Why? Why do you hate him? I know the guy can be annoying and smug, but a forced lobotomy seems rather harsh.
posted by loquacious at 11:18 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why? Why do you hate him?

I don't hate him. I believe him to be the all-being, reincarnation of Osiris, and that he single-handedly has the power to convert this morning show to a thing of strangeness and wonder, and that I will start waking up early in order to watch, and that act will turn me into that wondrous creature I have had only the briefest contact with previously, A Morning Person. In this new life, I arise each day and am kissed by the sun's freshest rays, am stretched and fed and know all the workings of the widest world even before heading out the door, and all thanks to Him.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:32 PM on March 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm always a little amazed that so many people have time to watch TV in the morning. I think that I've seen the Today show or the other ones a handful times in my life and I was delirious with the flu for most of those.

I was just having the discussion with friends about all the subtle differences between morning people and night people. I have of course heard of the Today show and Good Morning America, but they have a slightly mythical quality. I wasn’t aware that people cared so much about the hosts though. That’s not an insult, I’m just surprised.
posted by bongo_x at 1:51 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't they teach copy editors about mixed metaphors any more?

What do you mean? A cow falling off its perch would totally crumple a house of cards. That's why nobody ever builds a card house under a cow perch - or hadn't you noticed?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:55 AM on March 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


There is something about Lauer that reminds me of Mitt Romney.
posted by thelonius at 4:20 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't hate him. I believe him to be the all-being, reincarnation of Osiris, and that he single-handedly has the power to convert this morning show to a thing of strangeness and wonder, and that I will start waking up early in order to watch, and that act will turn me into that wondrous creature I have had only the briefest contact with previously, A Morning Person. In this new life, I arise each day and am kissed by the sun's freshest rays, am stretched and fed and know all the workings of the widest world even before heading out the door, and all thanks to Him.

Woah, man. Puff, puff, pass.

Anyway, have you considered coffee?
posted by loquacious at 4:56 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Pauley/Gumbel era Today Show was often on before school when I was a kid, and I watched it passively and uncritically until this interview with Frank Zappa in 1989... Zappa was probably the first person I'd seen on the show about whom I was fairly knowledgeable. Even as a teenager I knew better than to expect anything too in-depth, but that weird combination of soft-ball and passive-aggression was really off-putting and for me called into question every other interview and segment on the show.

These days, whenever I'm in a waiting area with morning television my brain feels like it's trapped in the bottom of a well, scrabbling at the sides to get out. It's such utterly mindless pap, and I don't know which is worse to watch: the hosts who can maintain a perfect, sunny, plastic facade or the ones whose eyes say "shoot me now" even as they smile and laugh at all the right moments. It doesn't surprise me that someone with a news anchor background would get thrown under the bus in that environment.
posted by usonian at 5:07 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm always a little amazed that so many people have time to watch TV in the morning.

Morning TV is tightly produced around a very consistent schedule. It can run in the background like a kind of talking clock. You look at the TV, Roker's on for his second blurb, time to finish your coffee and get going.

Actually watching or listening to what's going on may have nothing to do with it.
posted by gimonca at 5:57 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been sitting here for the past five minutes halfway convinced that Ann Curry was actually dead and Matt Lauer was believed responsible. /dense
posted by koucha at 6:35 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, this is the panel I remember.

Wikipedia reminds me that:

McGee moved Today into a more serious news presentation, insisting on opening and closing the show by himself while sharing other duties with co-host Barbara Walters. He also insisted that he, and not Walters, ask guests the first three questions if both of them were doing an interview.
posted by gimonca at 6:43 AM on March 26, 2013


Also, if "Jeopardy" decides to put in Lauer or John Hodgeman, it's going off my DVR

One of the great things the Internet has taught me is that some people are just wired differently from me and it's ok if we don't agree on things. That said, you could be more annoyed by someone else hosting Jeopardy! than the smug fuck acting like the Oracle at Delphi* because he has the answers on the card in front of him?!

* And make sure to pronounce "Delphi" in some obscure fashion that suggests everyone in the audience is beneath contempt for not knowing that's how to say that.
posted by yerfatma at 6:45 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think this was all a manufactured ploy to get more ratings for a flagging brand.
posted by Renoroc at 7:09 AM on March 26, 2013


Huh. Interesting. When all this blew up with Ann Curry recently, I was extremely surprised to learn that Matt Lauer was supposed to be such a powerhouse superstar type, because from what I remembered of him before we left the U.S. was just that he was some smarmy, beige, empty-suit presence, just kind of smoothly unctuous but dull.

I've always been very fond of Ann Curry, on the other hand. At the very least, I sure bet she knows who Tim Berners-Lee is. Once outside his circumscribed slot, it seems Lauer's apparent ignorance and banality became much more of a handicap. I'm not surprised he felt uncomfortable with Curry.

At any rate, the $25 million salary is astonishing to me. Just for a bit of Harper's Index-style perspective, that's more than four times the combined salary of the U.S. President, Vice President, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, plus the Attorney General, and all the Supreme Court Justices.
posted by taz at 7:56 AM on March 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Er, What is news that makes ME think "You thought the previous host seemed like a smug bastard -- just you wait"?

It's interesting what can alter our perceptions of people; hearing Jennings gamely participating on the Doug Loves Movies podcast went a long way to endearing him to me.

How long until breakfast shows (and TV networks) are irrelevant? Until all programming is online and on demand?

I think this vastly overestimates the overlap between the technologically literate and the audience for these shows.
posted by psoas at 8:40 AM on March 26, 2013


Doesn't the next Jeopardy host have to be Canadian? I nominate Dave Foley.
posted by chrchr at 9:12 AM on March 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'd like to watch some news in the morning, and having some entertainment features mixed in is fine. I really liked and still miss Jane Pauley's calm intelligence. I like Katie Couric a lot, and miss her as a news person. The Today Show has become a tv version of People mag, and they do it worse than other morning shows. Ann Curry's sentimental and overweening caring got under my skin; she has a special "I really care" voice that makes my teeth hurt, but jeez, she didn't deserve the public destruction. Lauer pretends to be a news guy, but he's a personality guy. He was more likable before he decided he was a star. Dating supermodels? Really? But he wasn't that special, more of a regular guy on tv. The effort to be buddies on Today has gotten comical. Natalie Morales has news credentials, but they don't get much play. Savannah Guthrie looks painfully uncomfortable, as if she expects to get in trouble during commercial breaks. Willie Geist is young, personable, and I'll bet he's the primary host before too long. I would like it a lot if they would get back to doing more news, less excited chatter about Twitter and Youtube, and less focus on celebrity and personality.

One thing that really bugs me is that the women wear cocktail dresses and killer heels, and the men wear suits. I don't know what serious professional women are supposed to look like these days, but I'd like news people to look professional and serious. Meanwhile, Morning Edition is on, and they sound professionally attired.
posted by theora55 at 9:42 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Morning Edition is on, and they sound professionally attired.

On the radio, no one knows you're dressed as a cartoon dog.
posted by Zed at 11:47 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Savannah Guthrie looks painfully uncomfortable

The problem with her is I think a similar problem that Anne Curry had but manifesting itself in a different way -- she's too smart for the role. (Even though I mean this as a compliment, this is also true of my cats.)

I'm not sure how Jane Pauley and Katie Couric managed to overcome this but I think it was a mix of different styles/improbable-to-reach standards (the sad fact is that "smart and personable" is really hard for women to pull off on television in a way that America will accept) and perhaps the fact that the role is even puffier than it used to be. And this is a show that used to have a monkey.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:55 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just thought about what programs I actually make sure to watch on NBC and concluded that if Rodney Harrison hosted it, I would definitely tune in to "Today" every morning.
posted by citron at 4:44 PM on March 26, 2013


The plot thickens! NBC has talked to Anderson Cooper about replacing Matt Lauer, behind Matt Lauer's back. I can't help but think "called Cooper to 'express his disapproval'" is code for a somewhat more contentious conversation.
posted by yasaman at 10:17 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


yasaman: "The plot thickens! NBC has talked to Anderson Cooper about replacing Matt Lauer, behind Matt Lauer's back. I can't help but think "called Cooper to 'express his disapproval'" is code for a somewhat more contentious conversation."

Also, apparently nobody at NBC understands the definition of "confidential."

There's a way to credibly leak a story, and I'm pretty sure that it's not to have three of your employees repeatedly call the Times with details of a confidential phone call. NBC, you're starting to look desperate...
posted by schmod at 11:06 AM on March 27, 2013


MCMikeNamara: " (the sad fact is that "smart and personable" is really hard for women to pull off on television in a way that America will accept)"

I think the worse part might be that Katie Couric was (is?) the canonical example of a woman who is both extremely smart and personable. They were huge shoes to fill, and I'm not sure why Curry was faulted for failing to live up to Couric's reputation, but Lauer didn't take any flak for being the blandest news anchor alive.
posted by schmod at 11:13 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


skewed: "Putting Lauer as host of Jeopardy is the wrong move. Everyone knows Ken Jennings should be getting that job.

That's a great idea, then they could move to a format where when you win more than a certain number of shows, you get to issue a challenge to the host. Win and you become the new host, lose, and you are banished! Not just from the show, but the whole country.
"

The winner decapitates the loser and takes their quickening. There can be only one.
posted by I am the Walrus at 6:54 AM on March 28, 2013


Surprised the story never mentioned the whole Deborah Norville affair.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:16 AM on April 16, 2013


« Older Google Glasses are being tested by tech writers as...  |  Midnight Rider [SLYT] (or if y... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments