NBC fired Lauer shortly before its Nov. 29, 2017, show after investigating a complaint for alleged "inappropriate sexual behavior." Lauer had been a Today anchor for 20 years, replacing Bryant Gumbel in January 1997. "This is a very tough morning for both of us. I've known Matt for 15 years as a friend and as a colleague," Hoda Kotb, who co-anchored in Lauer's place alongside Savannah Guthrie, said on air. "It's hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know who walks in this building every day."
After one year as co-anchor, declining ratings and tepid chemistry with Matt Lauer, Curry tearfully, awkwardly signs off on June 28, 2012, with a prepared speech that makes it clear that she was forced out. Avoiding a goodbye kiss from Lauer only stirred rumors that he was behind her dismissal. Lauer later denied that he wanted Curry out and admitted that TPTB did not handler her exit well. In the book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, Brian Stelter wrote that Curry was teased and "humiliated" by her colleagues for months and that Today executive producer Jim Bell put in place a plan to oust her called Operation Bambi. After Curry's final show, according to Stelter, Bell and producers toasted her departure at a restaurant.
Before Curry's messy departure, there was the equally controversial Jane Pauley-Deborah Norville transition. As Today's ratings were declining in 1989, rumors swirled that NBC would replace co-anchor Pauley with the younger, attractive newsreader Norville. In October, Pauley announced that she was leaving after 13 years and Norville would replace her. Viewers fled and the negative press was relentless, with many branding Norville as "the other woman" and noting the lack of chemistry between her and Bryant Gumbel. By the end of 1990, NBC began to slowly phase Norville out of broadcasts. Ratings rose after Katie Couric subbed in for Norville when she went on maternity leave in February 1991. Two months later, NBC announced that Norville would not return and named Couric co-anchor.
Gifford put her foot in her mouth in May 2012 when she asked Short how long he and his wife Nancy Dolman have been married, clearly unaware that Dolman died in 2010. "We... uh... married 36 years," Short answers. Still clueless, Gifford follows up with, "But you're still in love?" "Madly in love," Short replies. "Why?" Gifford presses. "Because I'm cute," Short jokes, ending the painful exchange. After a commercial break, Gifford apologizes and says that Short informed her during the break that Dolman had died.
Lauer wastes no time bringing up the Les Miserables' star's embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in December 2012, opening up with, "Seen a lot of you lately." (Gross!) He presses her about the mishap, but Hathaway is armed with an eloquent, if not prepared, response to steer the conversation back to the film. "Well, it was obviously an unfortunate incident," she says. "And I'm sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, which brings us back to Les Mis, because that's what my character [Fantine] is."
NBC drew huge backlash after every affiliate but the one in New York aired an interview with the Keeping Up with the Kardashians matriarch instead of the annual moment of silence marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The network defended its decision, citing its extensive 9/11 coverage throughout the morning.
During a vacuum segment in March, Lauer makes a crack that it was Guthrie's first time using the cleaning appliance. Guthrie scoffs and flashes what appears to be her left middle finger to Lauer's back. "Folks!! That was my INDEX finger! Photo evidence proving my innocence coming," she later tweeted along with a screen grab showing that it was indeed her index finger. Lauer responded by jokingly tweeting a photo of him "storming out" of the office.
Two months after Curry's exit, Roker fanned the flames during an interview with the U.S. Olympic champion women's rowing team. After Lauer notes the team's tradition of throwing a member into the water after winning, Roker quips, "Which is different than our tradition, which is you throw one of us under the bus, but that's another story." What's more suspect? NBC edited out Roker's remarks in the online clips.
A week before Curry's departure, Today sent a not-exactly subliminal message during her interview with Seeking a Friend for the End of the World star Steve Carell with the chyron: "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow." Ouch.
Wordplay is not for every situation. The show's segment on Amy Winehouse's death in 2011 was chyroned "You Know I'm Dead" -- as in her song "You Know I'm No Good."
What's in a name? A lot when it comes to Ron Johnson. In a segment about the fired JC Penney CEO, Today accidentally put up a photo of Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson instead.
You'd think with its Olympics tape delay that NBC would have time to get all its research and notes together, but alas no. The opening ceremony to the London Games features a tribute to World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, but Lauer and Vieira have absolutely no idea who he is until someone hands them a memo. Ironically, video evidence of their ignorance will live forever online.
Today does a man-on-the-street segment to get tourists' reaction to the London Olympics opening ceremony and fails to recognize that one of them was the former heavyweight champ. "The @todayshow did interview me yesterday and ur right they didn't mention who I was," Holyfield later tweeted.
During Vick's interview in July 2012 to promote his book Finally Free, Today runs B-roll footage of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback at practice. Except it wasn't him, but fellow quarterback Jerrod Johnson.
Looks like someone didn't pass geography. In October 2012, the show mislabeled Wyoming as Colorado on a map detailing President Barack Obama's campaign stop.
Was he in a time crunch? Did he not hear Curry in his earpiece? Whatever it was, Lauer, who was reporting from the White House, rudely cut Curry off as she was mid-sentence explaining the transformation the show's New York set underwent for Education Nation week in 2010.
After a story in 2009 about a grandma who was robbed and used the cell phone she keeps in her bra to call the cops, Al Roker jokes that the woman set her phone to vibrate. But Curry makes things even more awkward when she remarks that she would need two. TMI!
Viewers got a peek at what goes on behind the scenes when a local affiliate weather patch didn't connect in September 2012. Unfortunately, it wasn't that interesting. Lauer and Natalie Morales debate the pronunciation of Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, while Roker literally just babbles "blah blah blah."