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Matt Lauer On Katie Couric's 'GMA' Stint: 'I Thought It Was Absolutely Right'

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/11/2012 12:34 pm Updated: 04/11/2012 1:54 pm

Matt Lauer

Matt Lauer spoke candidly about his decision to return to "Today," his ongoing chemistry with co-host Ann Curry and Katie Couric's "Good Morning America" guest hosting stint in a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter's Marisa Guthrie.

After almost a year of speculation, Lauer announced on April 6 that he had signed a new, "long-term" deal to remain as a "Today" host. The announcement came as the long-running morning show wars escalated sharply in their intensity, as the ratings between "Today" and "GMA" have tightened.

The new deal with Lauer was signed and sealed just 36 hours after he called NBC CEO Steve Burke and confirmed he would return, Guthrie wrote.

"This is a second family," he told THR, echoing what he said on the air when he announced the new deal. "It's impossible to leave."

Lauer also spoke about Couric's controversial return to morning television on "Good Morning America." Her decision to host the ABC show just as "Today" was in the midst of one of its more publicly challenging periods was widely reported to have rankled many within the show that made her famous, but Lauer was very diplomatic in his interview.

"I thought it was absolutely right," he said. "Katie hasn't been here for six years. She had a completely different stop in between at CBS. She's under contract at ABC News. She's one of the best morning hosts ever. Why wouldn't you use her on that show?"

Lauer is still close with Couric, and he repeated what he confirmed nearly a year ago: that the two talked about reuniting on a syndicated talk show.

Rumors have swirled about his relationship with co-host Ann Curry -- that their on-air chemistry is shaky, that there is a personal coolness between them, that she is floundering. Lauer referred to what he called a "cottage industry of meanness" as he addressed the whispers.

"I love Ann," he said. "...We're not at all alike. But I feel very comfortable alongside her ... I think the chemistry is good. People have to get used to the fact that it's not what it was eight months ago [or] eight years ago. Every team is different. And people need to give us a chance to be different."

However, he did say that he misses the "dynamic" between himself and former co-host Meredith Vieira.

Also on HuffPost:

Morning shows.
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  • Matt Lauer

    Lauer co-hosts NBC's "Today" from 7-9 a.m.

  • Guthrie co-hosts NBC's "Today" from 7-9 a.m.

  • Robin Roberts

    Roberts co-hosts ABC's "Good Morning America" from 7-9 a.m.

  • George Stephanopoulos

    Stephanopoulos co-hosts ABC's "Good Morning America" from 7-9 a.m.

  • Charlie Rose

    Rose co-hosts "CBS This Morning" from 7-8 a.m. CBS announced the addition of Rose and Gayle King and a decidedly focused hard news program earlier this year.

  • Gayle King

    King co-hosts "CBS This Morning" from 8-9 a.m.

  • Steve Doocy

    Doocy co-hosts Fox News' "Fox and Friends" from 6-9 a.m. "Fox and Friends" dominates cable news morning shows.

  • Gretchen Carlson

    Carlson co-hosts Fox News' "Fox and Friends" from 6-9 a.m.

  • Brian Kilmeade

    Kilmeade co-hosts Fox News' "Fox and Friends" from 6-9 a.m.

  • Joe Scarborough

    Scarborough co-hosts MSNBC's "Morning Joe" from 6-9 a.m. "Morning Joe" focuses solely on hard news and political commentary.

  • Mika Brzezinski

    Brzezinski co-hosts MSNBC's "Morning Joe" from 6-9 a.m.

  • Soledad O'Brien

    O'Brien co-hosts CNN's 7-9 a.m. morning news program. CNN's "American Morning" fell behind MSNBC and even its own HLN. The network recently announced the return of O'Brien and the replacement of "Amerian Morning" with two new morning programs.

  • Zoraida Sambolin

    Sambolin co-hosts CNN's 5-7 a.m. morning news program.

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