How Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer's Departures From 'Today' Will Affect Ads


Some advertisers may be reluctant to invest in the show with chatter about both hosts stepping down.

NEW YORK – With Meredith Vieira set to leave Today and chatter about Matt Lauer considering a departure as well, some advertisers looking to avoid risk are evaluating the situation ahead of the broadcast TV networks' annual upfronts in May, the New York Post reported.

Today is among the longest-running news franchises in TV history, has a record winning streak and is a big revenue generator for NBC. The show continued to do well in the ratings and with advertisers when Katie Couric left in 2006. But if both hosts left, advertisers looking to avoid risk could be cautious about placing ad money amid questions about such a change’s effect on ratings.

"We're concerned that having two hosts leave at the same time is very jarring,” Maureen Bosetti, Optimedia's chief broadcast buyer, told the paper. “It would be very concerning especially as we're about to put a lot of money on that show." She added: "When there is uncertainty about ratings you ask how much investment do you want to make. It will impact some of the decision-making we have to do in the next month or so."

Two big-name losses could mean that viewers will sample other shows, an unnamed strategist told the paper. “Today is a strong habit, but this means that the audience could taste other things," that person said.

Vieira seamlessly joined Lauer nearly five years ago, but is said to be considering leaving when her contract expires in September due to the grueling lifestyle and a desire to spend more time with her ill husband.