Kathie Lee Gifford Collects Signatures For Newspaper Ad in Support Of Matt Lauer After Ann Curry Drama; Lauer Asks Fellow NBC Host Not To Run It
By Staff Writer | April 27, 2013 03:09 PM EDT
Matt Lauer may want to improve his reputation after being deemed responsible for Ann Curry's firing, but even the Today show host has limits for how he'll do it. Lauer asked Kathie Lee Gifford not to run a USA Today newspaper ad in support of him that received hundreds of signatures from Today show staff and fans. Gifford has since agreed to his request, but stands by her attempt to support Lauer.
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"We all wanted to say something to Matt and nobody wanted to put him in a position that would make him uncomfortable. So unbeknownst to anyone higher up at NBC, I just started this thing," said Gifford to the New York Daily News.
The letter received seven pages of signatures that included Lauer's co-host Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Hoda Kotb. Numerous employees also signed the letter, but Lauer asked Gifford to "keep it in the family" after reading it. A notablly absent signature on the letter was that of Curry.
"We the people of the 'Today' show who work side by side, day by day, year in and year out with Matt Lauer are tired of unfounded and unrelenting stories by faceless characters regarding his character and reputation No one has coerced us to sign this. With our signatures we stand in support of our colleague and friend," read the letter drafted by Gifford.
In the aftermath of Curry's on-air firing in June 2012, Lauer has been portrayed as the mastermind villain behind her exit. The show has been losing in the ratings to ABC's Good Morning America ever since after viewers expressed unanimous discomfort over her public firing.
However, producers of the show spoke in a New York Times feature on the scandal and said that Lauer was not to blame. They reported that Curry refused to take direction or constructive criticism from show producers and even broke down in tears during a meeting.
Lauer makes an estimated $25 million per year for co-hosting the show. A rep for the Today show did not respond to requests for comment about the letter.
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