“It’s been an interesting year — no question about it,” NBC‘s Matt Lauer said to Jay Leno on Thursday night. Understatement much? But, the embattled Today host told the embattled Tonight host, “I am not a guy who complains — I love this job, I really do.” Leno then brought up Kathie Lee Gifford’s letter of support for Lauer that she circulated among their Today colleagues, garnering hundreds of signatures. Lauer praised the former 15-year ABC morning host’s “very, very sweet” gesture, emphasizing, “She’s kind and she’s compassionate — and she’s been there.”
Today‘s Matt Lauer this morning interviewed filmmaker John Ziegler, who has spent a year poring through evidence in the Penn State pedophile scandal to make a documentary he hopes will clear the name of the late legendary head coach Joe Paterno. Now, Paterno’s only alleged transgression was not being aggressive when a graduate assistant (who’d later become a coach) brought to his attention an “encounter” in the football showers between former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and an underage boy that sounded like molestation. We’ve written numerous stories on the subject, breaking stories about a feature film in the works that will likely re-team Scarface director Brian De Palma and Al Pacino for Happy Valley. That is the working title of a film based on Paterno, the book written by Joe Posnanski. Paterno was unceremoniously fired after the scandal shocked the nation, and the NCAA took unprecedented actions against the school, including stripping the coach of the distinction of being the winning-est major college football coach in history. All for the failure of Paterno and university higher-ups to do next to nothing to stop Sandusky, supposedly fearing bad publicity for the powerhouse gridiron program they presided over.
Brian Williams & Dan Patrick Considered For Alex Trebek Replacement On ‘Jeopardy’, Matt Lauer & Anderson Cooper Also In Mix
Sony Pictures TV is casting a wide net in its search for a successor to Alex Trebek as host of one of the studio’s top properties, veteran game show Jeopardy!. I have learned that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and NBC Sports personality Dan Patrick are among those approached by the studio, along with embattled Today show co-host Matt Lauer and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. I hear all four have had exploratory conversations with Sony TV, though the studio is not actively pursuing anyone at the moment.
Sony TV’s succession plan for Jeopardy! became a hot topic today after the NY Post reported on Lauer and Cooper being in the mix for the job. With the exception of Patrick, who has presented at the Super Bowl and during the Summer Olympics, Jeopardy! would mark a step up in the ratings department for any of the candidates. Yesterday, Jeopardy! was the No. 1 program on any network among households in the nation’s top market, New York, where Williams, Lauer and Cooper are based. Jeopardy! averaged a 10.0 household rating, edging CBS’ primetime blockbuster The Big Bang Theory (9.1). Lauer’s Today drew less that a third of that, a 2.9 rating. Of course, hosting a syndicated game show, which often films a whole season worth of episodes in a stretch of a couple of months, could be a second job for a top anchor as proven by Meredith Vieira, who juggled hosting Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with her duties on The View and then Today.
2ND UPDATE: Discovery’s Fit & Health and Velocity networks and The Weather Channel will join HBO and the networks of NBCUniversal in airing Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together tonight at 8 PM ET. The list of participating stars also has grown. Kevin Bacon, Mary J. Blige, Tina Fey and Whoopi Goldberg are among those who will join previously announced Christina Aguilera, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and others. NBC.com, Fandango, iVillage, weather.com, nbcnews.com and others plan to live stream the event. When the special concludes at 10 PM ET NBC will air a special Hurricane Sandy-themed edition of Dateline: Rescue And Recovery, anchored by Lester Holt. The latest release follows:
NBC Universal is courting Ryan Seacrest as a potential replacement for Matt Lauer on the Today show, the Wall Street Journal reports. The paper says NBC News, Today show, and NBC network executives met with Seacrest on Tuesday about the possibilty of …
At a press conference today discussing the pending anchor switchover on NBC’s Today triggered by the upcoming departure of Meredith Vieira, co-host Matt Lauer addressed speculation that he might join former Today cohort Katie Couric on her potential syndicated talk show. “We certainly spoke about the possibility, but we’ve talked about a lot of possibilities over the years,” Lauer said, according to press reports. “It turned into just talk. And that’s where we left it. It’s not going to happen.” Word is those overtures to Lauer infuriated NBC brass and led to the network pulling out of contention for the Couric talker. As for the rumors that one way or another Lauer may be leaving Today when his contract is up in December 2012 or even sooner, “I have a long-term deal with NBC News,” he said. “I’m going to be here for a while. You’re going to get sick of me.”
Nothing newsworthy came out of the interview, but it’s nice to see Katie Couric and Matt Lauer back together; their chemistry is still there. Like the exchange when Lauer brought up the subject of Couric’s future: “Have you heard any good rumors recently?” Responded Couric, “No, have you?” She talked …