Matt Lauer -- the single most important person at the single most important show at NBC, "Today" -- has signed a new deal to remain with the program for two to three more years.
The new pact will be announced Friday, ending the Week that Was for for "Today," which is in a dogfight with "Good Morning America" -- another a.m. franchise that is now so close to toppling "Today's" sixteen-year reign that it can taste it. (This almost sounds like an episode of "Game of Thrones" - admittedly a really bad one.)
“Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team," said Steve Capus, NBC News president in a statement.
NBC News, as is its wont, handed the news first to its favored newspaper, The New York Times, which reported that the deal was a "multiyear" one. We reported here at TVZone weeks ago that Lauer would earn an estimated $25 million under the new deal, which we also speculated would not be announced until the May upfronts. (Oops! Sorry. Wrong about that.)
Twenty-five million dollars? It's not remotely an outlandish figure. Well, let me take that back -- yes, it is. But Lauer anchors a program that is of vast importance to new NBC owner Comcast, and a show which is now under a daily assault by "Good Morning America." Latter even brought Katie Couric aboard this week to topple "Today's" long reign in one sweet ironic coup de main.
With Lauer back at the helm, a massive question has been resolved -- will he go or will he stay? -- but lingering ones remain. Will Ann Curry stay as his co-anchor? Will Savannah Guthrie be promoted? Will Katie Couric return to "Today?"
Kidding about that, but after this week -- Palin! -- who knows?
PIctured: Matt Lauer interviews Sarah Palin earlier this week on "Today."