Matt Lauer's Treatment of Ann Curry Harmed 'Today' Ratings, Execs Say

A TV executive says the Today Show's low ratings in recent years is to blame on Matt Lauer's treatment of Ann Curry in 2012.

“Women never forgave Matt for what he did to Ann [Curry] five years ago," the executive from a rival network told Fox News. "We’re now realizing that he was dragging down Today's ratings ever since. He wasn’t key to their ratings. He was actually actively hurting their ratings."

After Meredith Vieira left Today in May 2011, Curry was named her replacement. As ABC's Good Morning America began to close in on the ratings and threatened Today's dominance as America's top-rated morning show, then-executive producer Jim Bell reportedly started hearing complains from Lauer about her performance.

Questions over Curry's future dominated tabloids for weeks, until June 2012, when she announced on air that she was leaving. During her tearful announcement, Lauer looked uncomfortable. According to a 2013 New York Times report on Curry's departure, she felt there was a "boys' club" atmosphere at Today.

As the drama unfolded, GMA snapped Today's 16-year winning streak as the top-rated morning show.

"Matt did enormous damage to the show from how he treated Ann, and from how they let him totally control the show after he got her fired. It became all about him and people sucking up to him," a Today Show staffer told Fox News.

Since NBC News fired Lauer for alleged sexual misconduct late last month, Today's ratings have risen past GMA. For the first time in three months, Today averaged 4.9 million viewers, 14 percent better than its season average.

The winning streak continued into the following week, with Today drawing an average of 4.58 million viewers last week, compared to GMA's 4.38 million.