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Matt Lauer Running Amok On 'Today'? Anchor Dismisses Page Six Story

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Matt Lauer, "animal"?

That's the story Page Six was telling on Wednesday. The gossip column ran an item alleging that the "Today" linchpin has become so unnerved by the show's slide in the ratings that he is banning staffers from even mentioning rival "Good Morning America":

Sources tell us that fired-up Lauer recently inserted himself into all key decisions on "Today," and is basically executive-producing the show himself while telling staff they're not trying hard enough.

"Matt's turned into an anchor animal," said a network source. "He's making all editorial decisions, he's running the show and he's not listening to anyone . . . it's a huge problem."

Lauer brushed off the story, telling the Post, "Please print this story -- it's the most interesting and dangerous I've ever sounded!"

Lauer would not be faulted for being a little agitated lately. It seems like every day brings with it a new doom-and-gloom story about "Today," which has been dogged by the ascendance of "GMA" and the bad taste left by the departure of Ann Curry.

Lauer has also taken responsibility for the show in the past. Speaking to Piers Morgan in May, he said "Today" was "not where I want it to be," adding, "When people start to write articles about what might be wrong with the 'Today' show you know where you should point the finger."

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