It's pretty bad when the actual, behind-the-scenes drama is even WORSE than what's being reported in the news!
But unfortunately, in the case of much-reported-upon, devastating drama on The Today Show that left Ann Curry fired, Matt Lauer looking like a real piece of work, and Good Morning America knocking them out of the ratings for the first time in 16 years, it wasn't just bad - it was a downright CLUSTERF-CK.
On top of the news that came to the light this morning which revealed the widely-criticized news anchor fooled ABC into negotiating a deal he never planned to take to secure his position at NBC, as well as a pay-day and assurance that Ann would get let go, the EXPLOSIVE new article in New York Magazine delves even deeper in the complex back-stabbing, paranoia, and shady negotiations that went on at 30 Rockefeller Center…and it ain't pretty!
For instance, even though Lauer, Today Show executive producer Jim Bell, and several NBC affiliates thought Curry was the problem, there was CLEAR internal research that showed that audiences agreed it was MATT who was the less appealing one, as he came off as "aloof, a little bit holier-than-thou and pompous.”
And despite his attempts to appear sad and regretful about the way everything went down, Lauer and Curry had NO relationship at all off the air, as he never warmed up to her - going so far as "getting more involved in the daily story lineup, getting into fights with producers and tearing the show up in the early-morning hours," refusing to fulfill her request to go out to lunch so she could get his advice, as he ultimately "seemed to drag his feet scheduling it and Curry felt he didn’t offer much," and threatening to cut back on his hours and loudly discussing how unhappy he was with her!
In fact, when signing his new, $25 million-per-year-deal with "maximum leverage":
"[He] could have easily saved her…To the contrary, in signing a new contract to remain at the show for at least two more years, he tacitly ratified the plan to remove her. Which doesn’t make him a horrible person — it makes him, for better or worse, a pro."
This left poor Curry, who didn't even have an agent at this point, to seek the advice of friends like Tom Brokaw, and as we all know, she was ultimately able to secure herself $12 million and her own production unit at NBC to leave the show.
And even though we all KNEW it was bad watching her sob on TV and avoid Matt's feigned sympathy during her last day, it was apparently even MUCH worse in real-life.
According to New York Magazine, Ann insisted on writing her own copy, as she wanted to "speak from the heart," which many of us would agree was entirely evident, despite some at NBC speculating that she "purposefully self-destructed to damage both Lauer and the show." However, that certainly doesn't seem the case, as sources claim that upon leaving the studio after her last day, she "cried the entire way" to the airport, where she was hopping a flight to California!
And worse yet?! NBC wouldn't even allow her to send a note of sympathy on Twitter to rival Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, who had discovered she was seriously ill with MDS, as they were "afraid she was trying to aid the enemy."
Of course, in spite of all this and his insistence that he's not responsible for departure, Matt STILL hasn't attempted to contact Curry, as he explains:
“Because I’m concentrating on doing the show — not concentrating on spinning the damage and trying to end the negativity on a daily basis. I'm confident that the show we’re doing today is the one that will allow us to dig ourselves out of the hole."
Somehow, we seriously doubt that.
Especially know that the whole world knows just how callous, manipulative, and spinelessly this entire debacle was handled, all in the name of keeping one man's paranoia and ego intact.
[Image via WENN.]
Tags: ann curry, article, behind-the-scenes, celebrity feuds, fired, good morning america, jim bell, matt lauer, nbc, nbc news, new york magazine, robin roberts, the today show, tom brokaw