Wed. 11:30 a.m.: NBC News fires Matt Lauer over inappropriate sexual behavior
NEW YORK (AP) — NBC News fired longtime “Today” show host Matt Lauer today for “inappropriate sexual behavior,” making him the second morning television show personality to lose his job because of sexual misconduct charges in a week.
Lauer’s co-host Savannah Guthrie made the announcement at the top of Wednesday’s “Today” show. Last week, CBS News fired Charlie Rose after complaints from several women who worked for him.
NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the network had received a complaint from a colleague on Monday night, but gave no details of the alleged misconduct. A review determined it was a clear violation of company standards, he said. It was the first complaint lodged against Lauer, but Lack said in a memo to staff that “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Lauer, 59, has hosted “Today” for two decades. When paired with Katie Couric, “Today” was the longtime ratings leader and was highly lucrative for NBC. It now runs second in the ratings to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Many “Today” show viewers took out their anger for the unsightly 2012 firing of co-host Ann Curry on Lauer, sending the show plunging in the ratings. But NBC stuck with Lauer and the show had steadied with his pairing with Guthrie. The show runs for four hours, with Lauer and Guthrie hosting the first two.
He joins a lengthening list of media figures felled by sexual misconduct charges this year. Besides Rose, they include Lauer’s former NBC News colleague Mark Halperin, former Fox News prime-time host Bill O’Reilly and National Public Radio newsroom chief Michael Oreskes. The New York Times suspended White House correspondent Glenn Thrush last week.