“Today” has been hyping a big announcement from Ryan Seacrest for a few days now, and this morning the “American idol” host finally sat down with Matt Lauer, whose job he reportedly has been wrangling for, to reveal that he is indeed joining the NBC family but isn’t quite set to take the reins on “Today” … well, not yet anyway.
Seacrest big reveal was really a series of smaller confirmations and denials. He will join the NBC team for its primetime coverage of this summer’s Olympic games in London and also expects to continue on as host of “American Idol,” though an official deal isn’t “quite there.” That will mean lessening his daily on-air duties at E! while continuing to oversee his production empire with the network.
“I’ve worked with the E! network for years and NBC Universal and E! are in the same family. The plan is for me to join the NBC family and continue to have role on the E! network,” Seacrest told Lauer. “The first assignment will for me will be with the primetime team at the Olympics on NBC.”
That’s when Lauer asked went after the real news. “What kind of conversations have you had with NBC about joining the ‘Today’ show?” he asked. “I want names and dates.”
“Oh, they didn’t tell you?” Ryan joked. “They were mostly about filling in to do weather.”
The pair engaged in some friendly back-and-forth over whether Seacrest was angling for Lauer’s job should he decide to leave the show when his contract expires later this later. “I see you doing this as long as you want to,” Seacrest continued. “So the question is: How long will you be on the ‘Today’ show?”
Unsurprisingly, neither Seacrest nor Lauer were very forthcoming with the details of their respective contract negotiations, preferring awkward banter to straight talk. The gist seemed to be that Lauer will continue to anchor “Today” for as long as he sees fit and that Seacrest would be happy to step in but only after Lauer leaves of his own accord.
“Can I say something? I think you’d be great at this job,” Lauer told Seacrest, adding that the two “are friendly.”
“We have talked about this, joked about this,” Lauer continued. “There is no tension here.”