Speculation that Matt Lauer isn't long for NBC is only about to get more intense: New York Magazine has a detailed rundown on how it says Lauer earned a $25 million annual contract by threatening to leave for ABC.
Joe Hagan's lengthy, detailed piece describes several tumultuous months at NBC: ABC's "Good Morning America" was about to beat "Today" in the weekly ratings for the first time in 16 years. Matt Lauer and Ann Curry weren't gelling on camera. And Lauer almost jumped ship.
NBC and Lauer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the magazine's account, Lauer was angered by a press report that NBC was talking to Ryan Seacrest about possibly replacing him. He exercised an option to explore other jobs, and soon ABC executives — including Disney CEO Bob Iger and ABC News president Ben Sherwood — believed Lauer would join "Good Morning America," Hagan wrote.
Instead, Lauer negotiated a $25 million annual contract with NBC, which made him the best-paid morning news anchor in the history of television, Hagan reported.
So Lauer stayed, and soon after, Curry left. But now the success of "GMA" has led to rampant speculation that Lauer may look elsewhere — to replacing Alex Trebek on "Jeopardy," for instance.