As the pivotal November sweeps period comes to a close, execs at the TODAY show had hoped Matt Lauer would be able to end the month by securing the first interview with Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer that shot unarmed Michael Brown. However, rival George Stephanopoulos of Good Morning America got the interview in the end, even after Lauer held a secret powwow with Wilson. Now, RadarOnline.com has learned, it’s just the latest setback that's further crushing morale on the set of the embattled TODAY show.
ABC broke into programming on Tuesday afternoon as Stephanopoulos revealed he had interviewed Officer Wilson at a secret location.
For NBC and TODAY, "it was a huge blow that ABC got the interview, especially during November sweeps,” an insider explained. "Matt had met with Officer Wilson over the weekend, hoping to get the first interview. Hopes were high, but in the end, for unknown reasons, Wilson chose to go with George. ABC is in a much better position to get those big interviews because GMA continues to dominate in the morning news ratings race."
"Morale on TODAY has taken a huge hit recently because of recently fired general manager, Jamie Horowitz,” the source continued. "Jamie had a lot of bold ideas that probably would have put TODAY back on top, and that included beginning to marginalize Matt Lauer. Jamie seemed to be the only person at TODAY that recognized that the public still has very negative feelings about Matt."
According to Stephanopoulos' posts on social media, the interview with Darren Wilson lasted approximately one hour, and no questions were off limits.
Do you think George was a better pick? Let us know in the comments!