Matt Lauer Signs New Long-Term 'Today' Deal

4:22 PM PST 04/05/2012 by Marisa Guthrie

The longtime co-host of the NBC morning show is set to make an official announcement Friday.

Matt Lauer has signed a new long-term deal to stay at Today, NBC News has confirmed. Lauer will make the official announcement during Friday’s show.

The news comes as ABC’s Good Morning America has narrowed the ratings gap with top-rated Today, making Lauer, the show’s linchpin and a 15-year veteran, even more critical.

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And it has been a particularly competitive week, with Lauer’s former morning colleague Katie Couric filling in for Robin Roberts on GMA. With Couric and the requisite Dancing With the Stars cast-off interview on Wednesday’s show, GMA bested Today by 87,000 viewers, according to preliminary ratings.

Today has enjoyed a 16-plus-year winning streak in the morning. And though GMA is challenging, the NBC program will get a critical ratings shot in the arm with the upcoming Summer Olympics in London. As the morning news leader, Today commands the lion’s share of the ad revenue pie, generating close to $500 million last year. Keeping Lauer at Today was seen as critical in preserving the show’s lead.

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