Something really awkward and really amazing happened on the Today show this morning. Al Roker called out Matt Lauer for the Ann Curry debacle.
The cast was interviewing the US women’s Olympic rowing team when Matt Lauer asked the ladies how they celebrated their victory upon winning the gold. Apparently the team threw one of their team members into the river, as per their tradition. Matt quickly responded, “The tradition here in New York is you throw her in the Hudson river.” Everyone on screen laughed in that forced way you laugh when someone makes a bad joke at a corporate meeting, but then Al Roker couldn’t help himself. “Which is different than our tradition, which is to throw one of us under the bus!” Savannah Guthrie and Lauer quickly chimed in, “Oh, Mr. Roker.” And they had those eyes your mom has when you put your elbows on the table at a really nice restaurant. Guthrie patted Roker’s arm as a warning, and he finished by quipping, “That’s another story.”
Given all the Olympic hullabaloo over the past few weeks, talk of Ann Curry and the Today show drama has been relatively quiet. In August’s addition of The Ladies Home Journal, Curry claimed she was fired because she let her hair go grey, didn’t like platform high-heels, and wore colorfully loud dresses on air. Let’s be honest, Ann Curry was a pawn in the Today – Good Morning America feud, and she didn’t benefit from the fact that Matt Lauer didn’t like her.
Remember the awkward tension they had each morning when they used to greet America at 7:00 a.m.? Or Curry’s last broadcast as co-anchor, when she tearfully told viewers, “For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball to the finish line, but man, did I try.”
I would love to be a fly on the wall during the meeting some important Today executives are having regarding damage control. How exactly can Today spin the Al Roker comment in their favor? Or will they just ignore it altogether? Today fired Curry and blamed her for poor ratings, and in a pathetic effort to retain more viewers, started a new series called Today in History, where they force the cast to “step back in time” and recreate some of the most famous pictures ever taken. At this point it seems they’ll try anything. You can check out their rendition of The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” cover here.
I can’t wait to see if a new on air tension has sprung, one between Lauer and Mr. Roker. I guess that is something we will see on Today, tomorrow.