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With rumors swirling about the fate of both Matt Lauer and Ryan Seacrest on the Today Show, NBC’s Bob Greenblatt was forced to address the issue as he graced the stage at the Television Critics Association press tour Friday.
“The No. 1 priority is keeping Matt on the Today show,” he told the Pasadena audience, noting that he and his staff are simulaniously focused on keeping Seacrest in the NBCUniversal family after his E! contract expires.
A December meeting between the American Idol host and Today show executive producer Jim Bell sounded alarms about both his and Lauer’s future at the morning show. (Lauer’s contract with Today is up in December.)
Still, the entertainment chairman used his platform before the press to wax on about Seacrest, likening his value to that of another NBCUniversal asset Chelsea Handler, who has two shows on E! and a mid-season entry on NBC.
Looking ahead, Greenblatt said his boss, NBCU chief Steve Burke, would be gathering his division heads to discuss how to keep Seacrest in the corporate family. In addition to potential scripted shows from his production company, Greenblatt said he would be interested in Seacrest hosting an interview special a la Barbara Walters for NBC.
“He’s become an incredible star,” added Greenblatt. “He’s a great asset for the company at large.”
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