NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Lauer told advertisers Thursday that he wants to get the "Today" show back to being the most watched and least talked about morning show on television, and that he expects to do it.
The beleaguered morning show host made his pitch at an unfortunately-timed NBC News sales event. "Today" is at low ebb in the ratings and a flurry of media reports has been speculating that Lauer is more of a sinker than a sail.
Lauer's boss, NBC Universal News Group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel, said about morning television that "we own it and maybe that's why the press is so fascinated by us." She was grouping MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and CNBC's "Squawk Box" in with the "Today" show.
"When you factor in the quality of our audience ... we're really in a league of our own," she said.
ABC's "Good Morning America" has beaten "Today" in the ratings for 29 straight weeks, according to the Nielsen company. And the margin is growing: The last three weeks, which include Robin Roberts' return to "GMA," have represented the ABC show's best stretch since 1994.
On the day that NBC invited advertisers to a luncheon to show off their wares, The New York Times ran a front page article headlined, "At NBC, a Struggle to Revive the Morning Magic."