When stories recently broke just days apart that “The Today Show” could be losing both of its anchors, with Meredith Vieira mulling her exit and Matt Lauer allegedly not interested in renewing his contract, the reaction was largely, ‘No way! Say It Ain’t So!’
Could the No. 1 morning show survive such a double blow?
Executive producer Jim Bell addresses the buzz-worthy rumors about his popular morning show team in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Regarding Vieira’s status – her contract is up in September — Bell confirms Meredith hasn’t made a decision yet. “We’re still talking,” Bell says. “We think she’s fantastic and hope we’ll have her with us.”
The “Today” boss is more pointed about the “ludicrous” Lauer reports that claim the long-time “Today” vet will leave the show when his contract expires in 2012 — or allege that he’s using Vieira’s possible exit as leverage to pull in a bigger payday to stay on board (some reports claim a figure as high as $25 million).
“I think that one is more ludicrous,” Bell says. “When we’re talking about something that is almost two years away, it’s silly speculation. I think it’s great that the show can generate this much attention and passion out there but we’re fortunate that so much of it has been wrong and misguided.”
Let’s hope NBC and the “Today” gang can work out a deal that keeps everyone’s mornings bright.