By Jen Heger – Radar Assistant Managing Editor
Embattled Matt Lauer of NBC’s beleaguered TODAY, which has slipped significantly in the ratings since co-host Ann Curry was infamously sacked last summer, has been obsessively watching Good Morning America to understand why the rival ABC morning program continues to gain viewers at TODAY’s expense, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.
“Matt has been obsessively watching Good Morning America, which he has recorded on his DVR on his television at his office. Matt watches because he just doesn’t understand why GMA continues to beat the TODAY Show,” a source close to the situation exclusively tells RadarOnline.com.
“Matt pays particular attention to the chemistry of the cast and focuses more on the first hour of the show, which tends to focus more on news and hard hitting interviews. Matt thought that once Robin Roberts went on medical leave, TODAY would resume first place in the ratings race, but that hasn’t happened, and he just doesn’t understand why. Matt takes this very personally,” the insider adds.
As we previously reported, Lauer, 54, who earns a whopping $25 million a year, is at risk of being fired from TODAY if ratings don’t improve by February.
“News executive Alexandra Wallace has told NBC bosses she will have to replace Matt if the ratings continue to tank,” a show insider tells RadarOnline.com. “The TODAY show has always been considered a cash cow for the network. It dominated the morning news ratings for years and brought in millions of dollars in ad revenue.
“But, if viewers continue preferring Good Morning America over the TODAY show that revenue will decrease and cuts will have to be made.”
In the recent and all-important November sweeps, the once-dominant TODAY lost to rival Good Morning America by the biggest margin in more than 10 years. The gap was 1.3 million people, according to Brian Stelter of the New York Times.
Meanwhile, Matt “just doesn’t seem to grasp is that viewers of the TODAY show have been tuning out in droves because of him. The numbers don’t lie, and he can watch GMA, and any other news show but it just doesn’t change the fact. Matt has become a liability to the show, and the sooner he realizes that, the better,” the insider said.