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.