Recent sexual harassment allegations against NBC’s Matt Lauer have thrown his career off the rails… and they just might be creating chaos for the entire network.
A recent Wall Street Journal report pointed out that Lauer was not just “somebody” at the left-leaning media group. He was a linchpin that was holding many parts of NBC together, and his exit could mean serious trouble for the broadcaster.
“Mr. Lauer had an annual salary in the $20 million range, according to a person familiar with the matter, making him one of the highest-paid television news figures,” explained the Journal. “He was also seen inside NBC as the key to the continuing success of ‘Today.’”
That last piece of information is key. NBC relied on “Today” as part of its programming foundation, and the show in turn was largely built around Matt Lauer.
“‘Today’ is a financial juggernaut for NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp., generating revenue north of $500 million annually, according to people familiar with the show,” stated The Wall Street Journal.
“Although the audience for ‘Today’ has declined in recent years, it is still the most-watched morning program among the coveted demographic of adults 25 to 54,” continued the report.
Similar shakeups were recently felt at CBS, where veteran talk show host Charlie Rose was fired for — you guessed it — sexual harassment claims. And most conservative readers are of course aware that former Fox News stalwart Bill O’Reilly exited that network not long ago, facing a similar scandal.
Interestingly, another familiar Fox face could play a role in how NBC deals with the post-Lauer disaster. Former conservative darling Megyn Kelly’s name is being floated as a possible replacement for the outgoing host.
“Although Ms. Kelly’s show has posted disappointing ratings, she is a known entity to television viewers. If NBC decides to jettison the traditional man-woman co-anchor approach to morning television in favor of two women, she could be a natural choice,” the Journal elaborated.
Of course, it remains to be seen if viewers are still even remotely interested in Kelly, who has struggled since she left Fox.
The real winners in this entire mess may be perhaps the biggest enemies of the mainstream media: Donald Trump and alternative news sources.
While it’s a stretch to suggest that President Trump directly influenced the recent scandals, the row of dominoes falling within the media can be seen as vindication of his frequent criticism: Mainly, that big media is incredibly corrupt and rotten.
At the same time, the game-changing turmoil at previously unshakable networks is a major opportunity for alternative media, including conservative outlets.
In the information age, people simply don’t want or need Walter Cronkite clones lecturing them about what to think. The era of centralized media is gone, and long-time journalists like Matt Lauer were the last holdouts of that old philosophy.
Now he’s gone, too… and it could be only a matter of time before the entire crumbling establishment goes with him.
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