NY Times TV Critic: Matt Lauer ‘Good At His Job,’ But Is That Enough?


By Alex Weprin Comment

New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley takes on the morning show wars. The bulk of her article focuses on NBC’s recent issue with on-air successions, but she also weighs in on the “Today” team.

Mr. Lauer is good at his job. He’s self-assured without being pompous, and he’s a skilled, unflappable interviewer (notably in 2005 with Tom Cruise in his anti antidepressant phase). But right now he is stuck as the cad who made a woman cry, and the very qualities that made him invaluable to “Today” in the first place — confidence, urbanity, a needling sense of humor — don’t serve him well on the current course to redemption.

It’s a cliché, but morning-show audiences do look at anchors as a family. Mr. Lauer may have started on the show in 1997 as the funny, smart younger brother; at the moment he looks more like a meanspirited rich uncle.