Matthew Todd Lauer (born December 30, 1957) is an American television journalist. He was host of The 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.
On November 29, 2017, NBC Chairman Andrew Lack terminated Lauer after an unidentified employee, one of Lauer's subordinates, complained that he had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with her beginning in 2014. Shortly after Lauer was fired, Variety Magazine and The New York Times came forward with the results of several investigations, which revealed that Lauer had engaged in additional incidents of sexual harassment against multiple women. In a statement, Lauer admitted that some of the allegations were true, and he apologized to those he had hurt.
Lauer at the Time 100 in 2012
|Born||Matthew Todd Lauer
December 30, 1957
New York City, New York, U.S.
Today news anchor
|Spouse(s)||Nancy Alspaugh (m. 1981; div. 1988)
Annette Roque (m. 1998)
Lauer was born in New York City, the son of Marilyn Lauer (née Gentry), a boutique owner, and Jay Robert Lauer (d. 1997), a bicycle-company executive. His parents divorced during his youth.
Lauer's father was of Romanian Jewish ancestry, as seen on the Today Show's Finding Our Roots. 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."
Lauer is a graduate of Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication, School of Media Arts and Studies. In 1997, he received his undergraduate degree from Ohio University at the age of 39. He had previously dropped out of the same school in the spring of 1979. Later that year, 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. 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. 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 area, this time across the Hudson to Secaucus, New Jersey's WWOR-TV, where he hosted 9 Broadcast Plaza, a three-hour live interview program. 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. 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 instead. In 1991 he 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. He held that job until 1996.
Lauer's on-camera presence provided him with many opportunities with NBC's national news organization while working for WNBC in New York. Lauer filled in as the newsreader on The Today Show for Margaret Larson when needed from 1992 to 1993. 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.
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. 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.
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 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. In 2009, NBC News announced the segment would no longer air in consideration of the stagnant, unstable U.S. economy.
On some occasions, Lauer has conducted interviews that have escalated into tense exchanges. In a June 2005 interview, Tom Cruise argued with Lauer about psychiatry and postpartum depression and called him "glib". In December 2008, more than three years later, Cruise said he regretted the exchange, and arm wrestled Matt Lauer in the same studio where the confrontation took place.
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".
Gossip websites widely reported that Lauer had much to do with the departure of Ann Curry—his then co-host—but those reports were later proved to be untrue. Curry's departure had been planned by Today's executive producer, Jim Bell; the plan was called "Operation Bambi". Lauer wanted Bell to delay the departure of Curry.
During the 2014 Winter Olympics, prime-time host Bob Costas suffered a major eye infection over the first five days of primetime coverage. As a result, Lauer replaced him for the sixth day of coverage, and hosted from February 11 until February 14.
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". 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.
On November 30, 2016, an announcement revealed that Lauer had signed a new contract through 2018. Variety reported that his salary was $20 million a year. On January 6, 2017, Lauer celebrated his 20th anniversary on Today with a look back at some of his most memorable moments on the show.
On November 29, 2017, NBC News announced that Lauer's employment had been terminated after an unidentified female NBC employee alleged 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. 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." A network executive said Lauer would not receive any form of monetary settlement because he was fired “for cause”. His now terminated $25-million-a-year contract was supposed to run through the end of 2018.
The New York Times and Variety had been conducting independent investigatons of Lauer's behavior before he was fired. Both organizations said that NBC News management had been aware of their ongoing investigations. NBC said that current management had been unaware of previous allegations against Lauer.
Variety published a more detailed account of Lauer's alleged workplace behavior on the same day he was fired. The specifics reported by Variety's two-month investigation included information from at least ten of Lauer's current and former colleagues. The accusations in the article included alleged incidents where Lauer made lewd or sexually suggestive comments, initiated "inappropriate contact" while alone with women in a locked office, showed his penis to a co-worker, and presented an unwanted sex toy to another NBC employee. Sources told Variety that Lauer particularly preyed on female interns, pages, production assistants and booking agents for NBC programs.
Additional accusations were made public in the ensuing days. On November 29, two individuals filed complaints against Lauer. Stephanie Gosk appeared on the November 30 edition of Megyn Kelly Today and claimed that as many as eight accusers had come forward, including some women who had complained about Lauer to executives, who ignored the complaints. NBC News management denied those allegations.
Lauer issued a statement in which he apologized for his actions and promised to repair the damage he had caused: "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."
In November 2006, Lauer and his daughter Romy hosted the Sesame Street direct-to-DVD show Sesame Beginnings: Exploring Together. 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.
Lauer appeared as himself in 2009's Land of the Lost movie, appearing in the beginning when Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) appears on his show and single-handedly ruins his career. Lauer appears again at the end of the film, when Marshall shows up with his new book, Matt Lauer Can Suck It. Both scenes end in violent physical confrontation between the two, with the staff trying to break them up.
Lauer appeared as himself in the TV movies Sharknado 2: The Second One and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!.
In July 1997 Lauer met Annette Roque, a Dutch model for American retailer J.Crew, on a blind date set up by stylist Maria Santoro. Just five months later they were engaged, and on October 3, 1998, they married in Water Mill, New York. Their son Jack Matthew was born in 2001 and their daughter Romy was born in 2004. In September 2006, while pregnant with their third child, Roque filed for divorce, citing cruel and inhumane treatment from Lauer, as well as Lauer demonstrating extreme anger and hostility toward her, according to the documents. The couple later reconciled. Their son Thijs was born in November 2006.
January 6, 1997 – November 28, 2017
with Katie Couric 1997–2006
Meredith Vieira 2006–2011
Ann Curry 2011–2012
and Savannah Guthrie 2012–2017