"Today" show executive producer Don Nash defended Matt Lauer against his critics in a new interview with TV Guide.
Lauer has had a tough couple of weeks in the press with reports about his low popularity ratings and the possibility of his replacement. After "Today" ousted former co-host Ann Curry, the morning show has not fully bounced back from last year's declining ratings and reported personality clashes. Many audience members reportedly blame Lauer for Curry's departure, even though the network has gone to great lengths to say otherwise. Last week, rumors swirled that "Today" reached out to CNN's Anderson Cooper to see if he was interested in replacing Lauer, who could leave as early as 2014.
While speaking to TV Guide, Nash pointed out how results from a viewer focus group showed that some audience members were still devoted to the "Today" host. Nash said of the focus group, "Their opinions didn't square with what we had been reading in the papers and on websites."
He added, "I think it could be much worse without him ... I can tell you unequivocally that the staff is not divided over whether Matt should stay or go. This staff loves Matt."
Even as rumors continue to crop up round the NBC morning show, the network is trying to present a unified front and deny any tensions that are reportedly occurring behind the scenes.
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