Matt Lauer

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Matt Lauer
Matt Lauer 2012 Shankbone 2.JPG
Lauer in April 2012
BornMatthew Todd Lauer
(1957-12-30) December 30, 1957 (age 60)
New York City, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Alma materOhio University
OccupationTelevision journalist
Years active1979–2017
TelevisionToday co-anchor
(1997–2017)
Today news anchor
(1994–1997)
Spouse(s)
Nancy Alspaugh
(m. 1981; div. 1988)

Annette Roque
(m. 1998; div. 2018)
Children3

Matthew Todd Lauer[1] (/laʊər/; born December 30, 1957)[1] is a former American television news anchor. He was the co-host of NBC's Today show from 1997 to 2017, and a contributor for Dateline NBC. With NBC he hosted the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1998 to 2017 and co-hosted the opening ceremonies of several Olympic Games. He was also previously a news anchor for The Today Show from 1994 to 1997, anchor for WNBC in New York City and a local talk-show host in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, and Richmond. He also hosted the PM Magazine (or Evening Magazine 1980–86), and in the early 1990s, segments of HBO Entertainment News.[2]

Following allegations of his inappropriate sexual behavior towards a colleague, Lauer's contract was terminated by NBC in November 2017.

Early life[edit]

Lauer was born in New York City, the son of Marilyn Lauer (née Gentry), a boutique owner, and Jay Robert Lauer, a bicycle-company executive.[3] His parents divorced during his youth.

Lauer's father was of Romanian Jewish ancestry, as seen on the Today Show's Finding Our Roots.[4][5] Lauer said, "My dad was Jewish. My mom is not. So I was not raised anything. I do feel a desire now to find something spiritual. Getting married and wanting to have kids has something to do with that."[6]

Education and early career[edit]

Lauer earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio University at age 39 in 1997; he had studied at the school's Scripps College of Communication, School of Media Arts and Studies. He had previously dropped out of the same institution in the spring of 1979.[7] Later in 1979, Lauer began his television career as a producer of the noon newscast for WOWK-TV in Huntington, West Virginia. By 1980, he had become an on-air reporter for the station's 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

He then started to move around the country, hosting a number of weekly information and talk programs in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, and Richmond.[8] He was also host of PM Magazine in Providence and then in 1984 at WNEW-TV in New York until the show's cancellation in 1986. In 1986, he then moved on to co-hosting Made In New York on the station (now WNYW after Fox's 1985 purchase of the station) with Jill Rappaport for a fifteen-week run. In 1986, he also co-hosted Fame, Fortune and Romance.[9] He also worked for ESPN in the 1980s. He then headed to Boston in 1988 to host WNEV-TV's Talk of the Town.

From 1989 to 1991, he returned to the New York market, this time to Secaucus, New Jersey's WWOR-TV, where he hosted 9 Broadcast Plaza, a three-hour live interview program.[10] He departed that series as it took a turn in booking "tabloid" guests and topics, and for what he relayed as a refusal to live-read ads on the show for Dial-a-Mattress.[11] In 1990, he was hired by the Kushner-Locke Company to host a pilot called "Day In Court," executive produced by veteran producer David Sams, who helped to launch The Oprah Winfrey Show into national syndication. The program was retitled "Trial Watch" when it went to series, and ran on the NBC network for two seasons. NBC hired Rob Weller as host over Lauer when the program was picked up as a daily series. The same year, he filmed a pilot for the World Wrestling Federation's bodybuilding spinoff, the World Bodybuilding Federation for USA Network known as WBF BodyStars, though WWF owner/chairman Vince McMahon later decided to host the program himself.[12] In 1991 Lauer appeared as the co-host (along with Willow Bay) of "Etc., Etc.", a show on the Travel Channel. Lauer moved to WNBC in 1992 where he became co-anchor, alongside Jane Hanson, of the early weekday news show Today in New York. After a year, he also filled the role of Live at Five co-anchor with Sue Simmons.[10] He held that job until 1996.

NBC News[edit]

Two men shaking hands
Lauer with President Vladimir Putin prior to the 32nd G8 summit in Saint Petersburg in 2006

Lauer's on-camera presence provided him with many opportunities with NBC's national news organization while working for WNBC in New York.[13] Lauer filled in as the newsreader on The Today Show for Margaret Larson when needed from 1992 to 1993.[10] This "audition" period allowed him to join The Today Show full-time in January 1994 as news anchor, while still co-anchoring Today in New York and Live at Five.[14]

Lauer stepped in for Scott Simon, Mike Schneider and Jack Ford as the co-host of Weekend Today, and for Ann Curry as anchor of the former NBC News program NBC News at Sunrise from 1992 to 1997.[15] He had also filled in for Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News. As the Today Show news anchor, he also substituted for Bryant Gumbel on the Today Show before being named the official co-anchor on January 6, 1997, after Gumbel stepped down.[16]

On top of Lauer's duties on The Today Show, he also hosted programming on Discovery Channel[17] and MSNBC.

From 1998 until 2009, Lauer embarked on what was generally an annual five-day, globe-spanning adventure called Where in the World is Matt Lauer? on the Today Show[18] during TV sweeps. The segment was named after the PBS game show Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? from which it borrowed the theme song. This segment sent Lauer to various locations around the world, from where he reported on the importance of each location. He broadcast from locations including Bhutan, Easter Island, the Panama Canal, Iran, Hong Kong, Croatia, and the Great Wall of China.[19] In 2009, NBC News announced the segment would no longer air in consideration of the stagnant, unstable U.S. economy.[20]

On some occasions, Lauer has conducted interviews that escalated into tense exchanges. During a June 2005 interview with Tom Cruise, Lauer argued with Cruise about psychiatry and postpartum depression, and Cruise called Lauer "glib".[21] In December 2008 (more than three years later), Cruise said that he regretted the exchange and arm wrestled Matt Lauer in the same studio where the confrontation took place.[22]

Lauer on the set of the Today Show, May 2009

On June 19, 2007, he interviewed Prince William and Prince Harry.[23]

Between 1998 and 2017, he co-hosted NBC's live coverage of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.[24]

Lauer co-hosted the opening ceremonies of several Olympic Games, carrying on what his former co-host Katie Couric had done since the 2000 Summer Olympics. He co-hosted the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2010 Winter Olympics, the 2012 Summer Olympics, the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 Summer Olympics. His commentary on the 2012 opening ceremonies, along with that of co-hosts Meredith Vieira and Bob Costas, came under fierce criticism, being described as "ignorant" and "banal".[25][26][27]

Lauer with House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2017

On the April 5, 2012, program, Lauer announced that he had signed a new contract with NBC News through 2017. An estimate by Forbes indicated that the contract paid Lauer $25 million a year.[28]

It has been widely reported that Lauer had influenced co-anchor Ann Curry's departure from The Today Show, executed by its executive producer Jim Bell under the name called "Operation Bambi".[29][30]

During the 2014 Winter Olympics, prime-time host Bob Costas suffered a major eye infection over the first five days of prime-time coverage. As a result, Lauer replaced him for the sixth day of coverage, and hosted from February 11 until February 14.

In November 2015, Lauer hosted an interview with Charlie Sheen, during which Sheen revealed that he was HIV-positive.[31]

On September 8, 2016, Lauer conducted separate 30-minute interviews with presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The New York Times reported that the reaction to Lauer's performance was "not kind". Lauer devoted much of the Clinton interview to questions about her e-mail server, and according to critics appeared to rush through audience-led topics such as domestic terror attacks and veterans' affairs, implying that there was not enough time to cover these in detail. Many also felt that Lauer failed to challenge Trump on alleged inaccuracies, such as his statement that he was "totally against the war in Iraq", which other sources called "lies".[32][33][34][35] CNN reported that the short amount of time for the interviews, the short notice with which they were conducted, and the small amount of audience questions were a major reason for the poor reviews.[36]

On November 30, 2016, it was revealed that Lauer had signed a new contract up to 2018.[37] Variety reported that his salary was $20 million a year.[38] On January 6, 2017, Lauer celebrated his 20th anniversary on The Today Show with a look back at some of his most memorable moments on the show.[39][40]

Sexual misconduct allegations[edit]

On November 29, 2017, NBC News announced that Lauer's employment had been terminated after an unidentified female NBC employee reported that Lauer had sexually harassed her during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and that the harassment continued after they returned to New York.[41] Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News, sent a memorandum to his staff that said, in part, "On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. ... While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."[42] A network executive said Lauer would not receive any form of monetary settlement because he was fired "for cause".[43] His contract had been scheduled to run through the end of 2018.[44]

NBC News management said it had been aware that The New York Times and Variety had been conducting independent investigations of Lauer's behavior,[45] but that management had been unaware of previous allegations against Lauer.[46] Variety reported allegations by at least ten of Lauer's current and former colleagues.[47] Additional accusations went public in the ensuing days.[48][49] NBC acknowledged three additional cases from 2000 to 2007.[50]

In a statement, Lauer apologized for his actions, saying, "Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed."[51]

Two weeks later, former Today production assistant Addie Zinone made an additional accusation, saying a consensual sexual relationship with Lauer in June 2000 was an "abuse of power" on Lauer's part. Zinone said she felt that turning down Lauer's advances would have hurt her career.[52][53]

Other work[edit]

Lauer had a guest appearance as himself on a live episode of Will & Grace in early 2006.[54]

In November 2006, Lauer and his daughter Romy hosted the Sesame Street direct-to-DVD show Sesame Beginnings: Exploring Together.[55] Lauer hosted The Greatest American on the Discovery Channel, which used Internet and telephone voting by viewers to select the winner. Lauer was critical of his own program since it tended to favor well-known figures over others who had less influence in pop culture.[56]

He served as the 2009 Class Day speaker at Harvard University's undergraduate commencement ceremonies on June 3, 2009.[57]

Lauer has appeared as himself in the 2009 film Land of the Lost. He also voiced reporter Hark Hanson in the direct to DVD animated sequel Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! released the same year. Archival footage of Lauer is shown in the 2017 films Lady Bird and I, Tonya.[58][59] He also appeared as himself in the TV movies Sharknado 2: The Second One and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!.[60]

Career timeline[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Lauer was married to television producer Nancy Alspaugh from 1982 to 1989.[1][61] They had no children. He later married Dutch model Annette Roque, whom he met on a blind date in July 1997. Lauer proposed to Roque after five months of dating and the two wed in Water Mill, New York on 3 October 1998.[62][1] They have three children together: son Jack (b. 26 June 2001), daughter Romy (b. 2 October 2003), and son Thijs (b. 28 November 2006).[63][64][65][66] Lauer and Roque began divorce proceedings in January 2018.[67]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Matt Lauer". TV Guide. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  2. ^ "NBC News fires 'Today' co-host Matt Lauer for sexual misconduct". Reuters. November 29, 2017.
  3. ^ "Matt Lauer Biography (1957–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved March 17, 2009.[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ Matt Discovers His Roots on NBC's Today Show. Retrieved August 24, 2008.[full citation needed]
  5. ^ Bloom, Nate (April 18, 2008). "Celebrities". Jweekly.
  6. ^ Lauer, Matt (April 30, 2000). "The Lauer Within". USA Weekend (Interview). Interviewed by Jeffrey Maslow. Retrieved July 17, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Estep, Bill (Spring 1997). "Lauer is at ease on 'Today' show hot seat". Ohio University Today.
  8. ^ "Matt Lauer – Rock Center with Brian Williams". NBC News. 2013.
  9. ^ a b Heffernan, Virginia (May 9, 2003). "Matt Lauer Sees a Serious Place". Slate.
  10. ^ a b c "Matt Lauer". January 5, 2012. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  11. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth (February 9, 1997). "For 'Today,' New Chemistry as Lauer, With His Easy Style, Steps Into a Coveted Spot". The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  12. ^ Assael, Shaun; Mooneyham, Mike (2010-11-03). Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. Crown/Archetype. p. 117. ISBN 978-0307758132. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "In Her Final Newscast, Sue Simmons Makes It Clear She Doesn't Want to Leave". Media Bistro.
  14. ^ Live at Five (WNBC TV series)[full citation needed]
  15. ^ "Ann Curry". June 26, 2013.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Matt Lauer, co-anchor".
  17. ^ Matt Lauer – Profile, Latest News and Related Articles Archived April 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Travel: Travel News, Tips and Advice from Around the World – TODAY.com".
  19. ^ MSNBC, "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?"
  20. ^ "'Where In The World Is Matt Lauer?' Postponed Due To Economy". The Huffington Post. March 13, 2009.
  21. ^ "In tense moment, Cruise calls Lauer 'glib'". June 28, 2005.
  22. ^ Celizic, Mike (December 15, 2008). "'Three years after notorious Scientology rant, "I'm here to entertain people"'". MSNBC. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  23. ^ Lauer, Matt (June 19, 2007). "In Honor of Diana: Two Princes Speak on the 10th Anniversary of Their Mother's Death" (Transcript of interview (updated)). MSNBC. Retrieved July 17, 2007.
  24. ^ Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade[full citation needed]
  25. ^ Huff, Steve (July 28, 2012). "NBC's Broadcast of the Olympics Opening Ceremony Was the Worst". Observer.com. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  26. ^ "The Opening Ceremonies in London from the Industrial Revolution to Voldemort". NPR. July 27, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  27. ^ Keller, Emma G. "NBC Olympics Opening Ceremony". The Guardian. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  28. ^ "Matt Lauer's firing will cost him millions of dollars". Newsweek. November 29, 2017.
  29. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (April 18, 2013). "'Operation Bambi': How and Why NBC Kicked Ann Curry Off Today". New York.
  30. ^ Stelter, Brian (April 18, 2013). "Who Can Save the 'Today' Show?". The New York Times.
  31. ^ Kim, Eun Kyung (November 17, 2015). "Charlie Sheen reveals he's HIV positive in TODAY Show exclusive". Today.
  32. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (September 8, 2016). "Matt Lauer Fields Storm of Criticism Over Clinton-Trump Forum". The New York Times.
  33. ^ Poniewozik, James (September 8, 2016). "Critic's Notebook: Matt Lauer Loses the War in a Battle Between the Candidates". The New York Times.
  34. ^ Chait, Jonathan (September 7, 2016). "Matt Lauer's Pathetic Interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Is the Scariest Thing I've Seen in This Campaign". New York.
  35. ^ "Forum moderator Lauer suffers media backlash". US election 2016. BBC. September 8, 2016.
  36. ^ Stelter, Brian (September 8, 2016). "Behind the scenes, NBC execs concede Matt Lauer forum performance was "disaster"". CNN. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  37. ^ Battaglio, Stephen. "Matt Lauer signs on for more 'Today' through 2018". Los Angeles Times.
  38. ^ "NBC News fires Matt Lauer after sexual misconduct review". NBC News. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  39. ^ "Matt Lauer's 20 years on TODAY: See the most memorable moments". TODAY.com. January 6, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  40. ^ "See Savannah Guthrie and Dylan Dreyer's 20th anniversary surprise for Matt Lauer". TODAY.com. January 6, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  41. ^ Us Weekly staff (November 29, 2017). "Matt Lauer Allegedly Sexually Harassed Colleague During 2014 Sochi Olympics". Us Weekly. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  42. ^ "Read Andy Lack's statement on Matt Lauer's firing". CNN. November 29, 2017. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  43. ^ Gosk, Stephanie; Siemaszko, Corky; Rappleye, Hannah (December 1, 2017). "Matt Lauer denied sex misconduct to NBC officials before scandal broke". NBC News. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  44. ^ Farhi, Paul (December 1, 2017). "NBC: Lauer said he was 'racking his brain' but came up blank when asked about harassment". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  45. ^ de Morales, Lisa. "Two More Complaints Against Matt Lauer Filed Wednesday: Report". Deadline. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  46. ^ Cherelus, Gina; Allen, Jonathan. "NBC News fires 'Today' co-host Matt Lauer for sexual misconduct". Reuters. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  47. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin; Wagmeister, Elizabeth (November 29, 2017). "Matt Lauer Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  48. ^ "Two More Complaints Against Matt Lauer: Report". deadline.com. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  49. ^ Jensen, Ellen. "Matt Lauer scandal: There may be as many as 8 victims, Lauer breaks his silence". USA Today. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  50. ^ DAVID USBORNE (6 August 2018). "THE PEACOCK PATRIARCHY". Esquire. Retrieved 7 August 2018. The seven-page report noted that “within two weeks” of Lauer’s firing, the company received information about “three additional women” who’d been inappropriately approached by him dating back to 2000, 2001, and 2007, respectively.
  51. ^ Steinberg, Brian (November 29, 2017). "Matt Lauer Responds to Harassment Claims: 'There Is Enough Truth in These Stories'". Variety. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  52. ^ Chuck, Elizabeth; Clark, Dartunorro (December 18, 2017). "Addie Zinone: Matt Lauer relationship was 'an abuse of power". NBC News.
  53. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin (December 14, 2017). "Inside Matt Lauer's Secret Relationship With a 'Today' Production Assistant (Exclusive)". Variety.
  54. ^ "Will & Grace: Bathroom Humor". TV.com.
  55. ^ "Matt Lauer". TV.com.
  56. ^ "Greatest American on Discovery Channel outrage". Democratic Underground. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  57. ^ "Matt Lauer anchors Class Day festivities".
  58. ^ "Matt Lauer Ready For His New 'Land Of The Lost' Catch-Phrase".
  59. ^ Bueno, Antoinette (December 7, 2017). "Matt Lauer Appears in Both 'I, Tonya' and 'Lady Bird' Amid Sexual Misconduct Scandal". Entertainment Tonight.
  60. ^ Chris Serico (June 29, 2015). "Today.com". Today.com. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  61. ^ "NBC's Matt Lauer Family life: Affairs, Wife, and Divorce". Liverampup.com. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  62. ^ Gliatto, Tom (October 19, 1998). "Matt Lauer Annette Roque Wedding". People. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  63. ^ Sammantha Faragalli (February 7, 2018). "Matt Lauer Is a Dad-of-Three — Learn All About His Kids!". Closer Weekly. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  64. ^ Dangremond, Sam (December 21, 2017). "8 Things to Know About Matt Lauer's Wife, Annette Roque". Town & Country. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  65. ^ Baker, K.C.; Nudd, Tim (November 28, 2006). "Matt Lauer, Wife Welcome A Boy". People. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  66. ^ "Matt Lauer and Wife Annette 'Barely Speaking' as They Prepare to Divorce After 20 Years: Source". People.
  67. ^ "Matt Lauer and Wife Annette Roque Have 'Started the Divorce Process'". Us Weekly. 24 January 2018. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Bryant Gumbel
Today Co-Anchor
January 6, 1997 – November 28, 2017
with Katie Couric 1997–2006
Meredith Vieira 2006–2011
Ann Curry 2011–2012
and Savannah Guthrie 2012–2017
Succeeded by
Hoda Kotb