Matt Lauer has signed a new deal to remain with the "Today" show, the New York Times reported late Thursday.
The multi-year deal was signed for an undisclosed amount, but it's widely believed that Lauer will be making an eye-popping $25 million a year.
"Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team,” NBC News president Steve Capus told the paper.
UPDATE: Lauer announced the deal on Friday's show. After saying that he had been developing the idea for a show where audiences would watch a man slowly lose all of his hair, he got serious. "This is my family," he said.
The signing of Lauer's new contract means that "Today" will go forward with its key host during one of its most challenging times in recent memory. The show has been fending off a newly aggressive challenge from "Good Morning America." The announcement of the deal will come at the end of a particularly intense week in the morning show wars, with Katie Couric hosting "GMA" and Sarah Palin co-hosting "Today."
It also caps off almost a year of speculation that Lauer could walk away from one of the most high-profile, lucrative shows in news. He has been a host since 1997 and is the undisputed linchpin of the program. The staggering new salary is more than enough of an indication of his importance to NBC News.
As the end of his most recent contract approached, Lauer admitted to having explored the idea of leaving to co-host a talk show with his former "Today" co-host Katie Couric. Meanwhile, reports that Ryan Seacrest could potentially replace him began appearing in the press.
On Wednesday, Lauer and Seacrest had a rather remarkable public conversation about the rumors on "Today." Both played coy, undoubtedly in the knowledge that Lauer was not going anywhere.
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Morning show hosts.
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