Matt Lauer Talks Ann Curry, New Contract and Joining Katie Couric: ‘I wasn’t just wasting time’

By Alex Weprin 

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie has the only interview with Matt Lauer following the news of his new contract with NBC. It is chock full of good material, including comments on his new deal, his relationship with Ann Curry, and contemplating leaving NBC to join Katie Couric.

Lauer acknowledges that he met with Couric (“I wasn’t just wasting time. There’s no crime in listening.”), but that ultimately, he decided to stick around:

But Lauer, who describes himself as “the most obnoxious creature of habit,” placed a call to NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke on April 4 to let him know he had decided to stay. “That set in motion a pretty intense number of hours,” recalls Capus.

Lauer’s longtime agent Ken Lindner immediately began hammering out a contract with the company’s business affairs executives. Thirty-six hours later, the deal was done.

“The only question was whether he wanted to continue to do the job and everything that it demands. That’s all that had to be decided,” says Capus, who adds that there was no haggling and very little negotiation at all. “His is a unique situation. We mutually agreed to something awfully fast.”

With regards to Curry, lauer says that the rumors surrounding her imminent departure and his feelings toward her are overblown:

“Ninety-five percent of the things I have seen in print or heard said on the radio or on television or seen on websites about me and the show and the future are incorrect,” he says. When it’s pointed out that the Journal is a reputable publication, not a fast and loose gossip site, he laughs: “Like they actually get things right?”

“We’re part of the press, but we don’t like to live in it,” he admits. “I read the rumors, and I know there is a cottage industry of meanness out there. I love Ann. I’ve known her for 20 years. I think we have a kind of sister-brother thing, maybe sister-brother from different parents,” he laughs, adding: “We’re not at all alike. But I feel very comfortable alongside her.”

But Lauer says his partnership with Curry “is still a transition. I think the chemistry is good. People have to get used to the fact that it’s not what it was eight months ago [or] eight years ago. Every team is different. And people need to give us a chance to be different.”

Capus, for one, is apoplectic about all of it: “It’s absolutely ludicrous. There isn’t a person alive at NBC News who dislikes Ann Curry. She’s beloved inside our organization. It’s wishful thinking on the part of competitors who will do anything to try to gain an advantage. And frankly, I think it’s disgusting.”

Read Guthrie’s full report here.