Matt Lauer’s highly-publicized termination from Today was met with a boost in ratings for the morning news show. For the first time in three months, it was the nation’s most watched morning-news program.
The NBC News program surpassed ABC’s Good Morning America in total viewership last week, a ratings game GMA normally wins. The morning show formerly hosted by Lauer averaged 4.9 million viewers, up 14 percent from its season average.
GMA was close behind with 4.4 million and CBS This Morning slid in third position with 3.5 million average viewers.
Lauer was terminated from the network on Tuesday evening following a complaint of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” When co-host Savannah Guthrie announced Lauer’s firing on Wednesday, viewership peaked with 5.7 million viewers. As the morning show continued to broadcast developments on the story, viewership heightened for the remainder of the week.
NBC has not named a successor for Lauer’s position as co-host of Today, a seat which he held for more than 20 years.
A source close to the show said the network will have a difficult time replacing Lauer because he sabotaged their ability to line up a successor.
“Matt killed off, in their infancy, every man who could succeed him at the time that he was ready to hang it up — so there’s nobody to take his place. And now NBC is paying the price,” the insider told Page Six.
They added that Lauer, dubbed “the golden boy of NBC,” made sure that no potential replacements got the chance to be groomed for his position.
Early reports claimed that Megyn Kelly was interested in taking Lauer's spot, but another insider at NBC says that won’t happen.
”The network likes Megyn in her current role," a source said. "The rumor around the Today offices is that Willie Geist could be the one to replace Matt."
In the interim, current anchors will circulate filling in for the veteran broadcaster.