Matt Lauer: On Ratings, NBC U 2.0 Cuts, Meredith, Zucker, & More

By Brian 

This week’s Broadcasting & Cable has a must-read Q&A with Matt Lauer. Here are a few excerpts:

 How closely do you watch the ratings, and are you surprised GMA has hung in there?

I’m not [surprised] at all. I watch the ratings periodically intensely and then sometimes not at all. Clearly, as the transition took place, I watched the ratings fairly closely. When you talk about GMA ‘hanging in there,’ though, it’s interesting. We lost probably the most popular morning personality perhaps in the history of morning television, and now we have grown the ratings, and you are saying you’re surprised they hung in there? I’m surprised we hung in there. I really am.

lauernov13.jpgOther highlights:

> On NBC U 2.0 cuts: “I would be lying if I told you there isn’t a little bit of uncertainty around here. Are there people here who are looking over their shoulder a little bit? Absolutely. Is there a certain amount of redundancy in the news division? Absolutely, some of it can go. We are dealing with reality. In the past, in some ways, we dealt a little with fantasy. Now reality is setting in, and there will have to be some hard decisions made…”

> On his chemistry with Meredith: “It’s gotten better. The only thing that still needs to develop is timing. Sometimes, we still talk over each other or have those small awkward pauses. Come back six months into it, and you’ll see those gone…”

> On Jeff Zucker’s influence at Today: “I don’t see him downstairs as much. I think Jeff has kind of an arms-reach approach to the show right now. I think he is pretty confident in the way it is going, and I know he is thrilled with the transition…”