By Jen Heger - Radar Assistant Managing Editor
The TODAY cast and crew has enjoyed Matt Lauer's absence this past week because the atmosphere on the set hasn't been as tense and Savannah Guthrie is settling into the role of being co-host, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.
"The energy is just so much lighter and not as tense while Matt has been on vacation this past week," a show insider tells Radar. "Everyone has breathed a sigh of relief. The crew just works better together, things just flow a lot easier, and no one is looking forward to Matt returning. Savannah is now settling into her role as being co-host and the staff is truly embracing her now. David Gregory has been filling on for Matt this past week and he and Savannah have a good chemistry. The cast and crew are very much aware that Good Morning America has been consistently beating them in the ratings but while Matt has been gone, it hasn't been thrown in their faces everyday."
"Ann reported for the TODAY show on Monday morning from the Syrian border, and she will be featured on a much more routine basis going forward for the TODAY show," a source previously told Radar. "Ann is truly doing what she loves the most now, reporting from war-torn countries and bringing viewers stories of people that are affected by the destruction in the region.
"Ann has been reporting for other NBC news programs as well. She certainly didn't like getting sacked from being the co-host, but Ann is making the best of the situation and is a true professional. Fans of the TODAY show let the network know they missed seeing Ann and the plan going forward is to use her more. Hopefully that might bolster the show's falling ratings."
Meanwhile, as previously reported, according to the Hollywood Reporter: "Notching victories not seen in two decades, GMA won premiere week of the 2012-13 season (Sept. 24) in both adults 25-54 and total viewers, besting TODAY by significant margins. In the key demo, the ABC broadcast topped TODAY by 254,000 viewers (1.937 million over 1.683 million). And in total viewers, GMA won by a margin of 808,000 viewers (4.957 million over 4.149 million)."
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