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Asked how he was holding up, Lauer put a positive spin on the negative media attention he and drama at Today have received.
“It’s been an interesting year, no question about it,” Lauer said. “But the fact of the matter is every day millions of people still invite us into their homes to deliver the news. I am not a guy who complains. I love this job. I really do.”
Leno asked Lauer about a recent gesture made by Today colleague Katie Lee Gifford, who rallied the show’s crew to sign a letter of support for Lauer.
“My mother always told me in times of adversity you find out who your friends are – Kathy Lee’s a great friend,” Lauer said.
Lauer has been the subject of increased media speculating about the future of Today, which has fallen to No. 2 in the ratings behind Good Morning America after the ouster of Ann Curry from the show last summer.
Lauer has criticized NBC over the circumstances surrounding her exit, but is still perceived by the public as having been key to the decision to let her go. In addition to being the subject of high-profile media stories, New York Times‘ reporter Brian Stelter‘s Top of the Morning has set its sights on Lauer as the book about the morning show wars puts a heavy focus on the drama at Today.
On Tonight Thursday, Lauer acknowledged his tough year by praising Leno for his friendship.
“Through good times and bad times, you’ve been a terrific pal to me.” Lauer said.
Watch the video below.
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