NBC’s Today sure is throwing everything they can against Katie Couric’s week-long stint on rival Good Morning America. After Today got Sarah Palin to co-host on Tuesday and brought in Meredith Vieira on Monday and Ryan Seacrest on Wednesday to announce their participation in NBC’s Olympic coverage, the NBC morning show saved the biggest announcement for last. Tomorrow morning, on the last day of Couric’s stint on GMA, Today co-host Matt Lauer will unveul that he has signed a new long-term deal that will keep him at the top-rated morning show after his current contract is up at the end of the year. The news was first reported by the NYTimes. The move brings stability to Today, which has seen its decades-old dominance challenged by GMA, which has closed significantly the ratings gap with its NBC rival over the past year. This week, GMA edged Today in total viewers on Wednesday, with Today finishing on top on Monday and Tuesday. Questions about Lauer’s future on Today were raised last year around the time Vieira departed the show when there was speculation that Lauer may opt to exit too. A few months later, Seacrest met with the Today executive producer, fueling more rumors about NBC looking for a replacement for Lauer. The two tried to squash the speculation during Seacrest’s visit to Today on Wednesday. “I see you doing this for as long as you want to,” Seacrest told Lauer. Added Lauer, “There is no tension.” While Lauer’s future on Today has been settled, that of his current co-host Ann Curry is far from, with rampant speculation that she may be on her way out.
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