Matt Lauer's ouster appears to have boosted the "Today" show's appeal with viewers.
Lauer anchored "Today" for 20 years before getting the ax last fall amid an outpouring of disturbing allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Hoda Kotb has since assumed his role hosting the program alongside Savannah Guthrie — and to impressive results.
Writing on recent Nielson ratings, Entertainment Weekly reported this week that the "Today" show "is currently enjoying its best streak in over five years by topping the competition in viewers and the key demographics."
"Season-to-date, 'Today' with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb is No. 1 among adults 25-54 and adults 18-49. Compared to the same week last season, Today improved its 18-49 lead over the second place Good Morning America by 16 percent (165,000 vs. 142,000 last year), Nielsen says," according to the EW analysis.
Lauer reportedly earned somewhere around a staggering $20 million a year and appears to have enjoyed protection from the network, signaling how highly NBC valued his contributions to "Today." More and more, it's starting to look like that heavy investment in Lauer may have been a bad bet.
Given Lauer's alleged habit of abusing his power to harass female colleagues, the combined success of Guthrie and Kotb looks a lot like poetic justice.