Matt Lauer Staying With ‘Today’

Lauer has signed a long-term contract to remain as co-host of the No. 1 morning show, a long-anticipated deal that NBC announced Thursday night but Lauer made public on “Today” Friday morning.

“this is my family,” he said on the air as the “Today” crew and co-anchors burst into applause.

“Truth be told,” he joked, “I was developing an idea for a new show, where viewers could tune in every morning and see someone they know lose a little more of his hair every single day right in front of their eyes. but then I thought, I could just stay here and do that.”

Although “Today” is on a historic winning streak in the ratings, “good Morning America” has been gaining ground.

Lauer’s decision provides important stability for “Today” and puts to rest suggestions that he might reunite with his former co-host Katie Couric on the syndicated show she’s launching this fall.

Lauer said last may that he had discussed joining with Couric on a new venture. but he predicted then that he would be staying at “Today” for “a long time.”

“Given how strong the ‘Today’ show has been, I don’t think the outcome was ever in doubt,” said industry analyst Larry Gerbrandt of Los Angeles-based Media Valuation Partners.

Lauer has been a fixture with the show since 1994 and began his run as co-anchor in

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