It seems long time Today anchor Matt Lauer is not exactly thrilled that NBC’s Today producer Jim Bell is being forced out and now being replaced with long time supporter and Ann Curry fan Alexandra Wallace.
According to sources close to radaronline, Matt Lauer and his new boss, Alexandra Wallace already have a history of terse standoffs and Matt isn’t particularly receptive to the idea of Wallace coming on board as the show’s producer as he has already begun fretting about the changes she may choose to make. Changes that it is no open secret that Wallace will be looking to make ever since the ouster of previous co anchor this summer led to a wide exodus of viewers who were repulsed by the way Curry was humiliated and dumped, with many laying the blame on Lauer.
Said the source: “Matt Lauer is NOT happy that Jim Bell who had been the executive producer of the TODAY show since 2005 has been forced out.”
The source goes on to reiterate that Alexandra Wallace, who will be Bell’s replacement, and Matt have never had a good working relationship. What’s also unnerving Lauer is the fact that Alexandra Wallace is a big advocate of Ann Curry’s. Which may or may not mean that Ann Curry may get to come back to the show (despite assurances that she would be a special correspondent, Ms Curry has been conspicuously absent from the show’s line up) something that probably wont sit too well with Matt Lauer given the frosty nature of his relations with Curry.
Continues the source:
“Alexandra is going to be shaking things up on the show in order to get it back on top. For instance, against Matt and Jim Bell‘s long-time stance of only having NBC-paid experts to comment on current events in the news, which has made the show feel very, very stale, Alexandra plans on using non-NBC staffers to do that. The reason is that having different experts will give the audience a much more diverse and knowledgeable base of information they can use in their own lives that isn’t the same predictable information being dispersed.
“Matt hates the idea and likes the continuity of using NBC talent such as Star Jones, Dr. Gail Saltz and Donnie Deutsch. They will still be used, just not as much.”
What makes Wallace’s entry more beguiling is the fact that she will be the Today show’s first executive producer who happens to be widely respected by cast and crew except for Matt Lauer.
Adding spice to the shake up is also this comment made to the nydailynews by an unnamed prominent former NBC News executive.
“This problem is not going to go away until Matt Lauer does. He’s great, but fairly or unfairly, his brand is damaged.”
Hmm, let’s see if Matt will be able to keep his perfect chamomile tea cup manners in check as Wallace shakes things up… or rather shakes Matt up…?