Matt Lauer criticized NBC over Ann Curry‘s dismissal and says he offered to quit. At least that’s the way NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke remembers it according to a piece today from Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast. The offer came amid Today‘s declining ratings and the messy departure of Ann Curry in June in favor of Savannah Guthrie. “If you think the show’s better off without me, let me know, and I’ll get out of the way,” Burke said Lauer told him. Burke said no way. Lauer had taken the lion’s share of criticism for how Curry left the show, with some reports blaming him directly for forcing her out. The backlash of that move was the start of a ratings crater — the next month, rival Good Morning America beat Today in total viewers and the 25-54 demo for the first time in 17 years. “I don’t think the show and the network handled the [Curry] transition well. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that,” Lauer told the website. (In fact, former NBC News president Steve Capus told Kurtz that Lauer told the network to give Curry time to adjust to her relatively new role as co-anchor. “He was quietly and publicly a supporter of Ann’s throughout the entire process. It is unfair that Matt has shouldered an undue amount of blame for a decision he disagreed with”, Capus said.) Lauer added, “We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well”.

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