Anecdota

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Huge Scandals That Completely Shook The Today Show


The Today Show has always been part hard news,
part talk show, and part entertaining fluff. In its nearly 70 years, the only thing that
really seems to change is the rotating cast of broadcast journalists, thanks to some real-time
drama. Here are the scandals that rocked the line-up. The Bryant Gumbel memo In late 1988, Today Executive Producer Marty
Ryan asked anchor Bryant Gumbel to write up an assessment of what he thought worked and
didn’t work with the show. That’s some standard workplace stuff, except
that Gumbel’s four-page memo leaked to the media in February of ’89. “Ever find out who leaked it?” “No.” As the LA Times reported, Gumbel’s thoughts
on his show and his coworkers, which his coworkers got to read, were astute, darkly funny, and
also, just plain mean. “John, look who I found!” “Who is that fellow?” “Spielberg has nothing to worry about.” “Look who I found!” Gumbel criticized Willard Scott, the jovial
weatherman and the guy who gave shout-outs to viewers on their 100th birthdays, as a
colleague who… “Holds the show hostage to his assortment
of whims, wishes, birthdays, and bad taste.” “Happy Birthday, happy birthday, 103 years
old today.” He recommended Scott be banned from the show’s
hard news-packed first hour, which Gumbel predicted Scott would find upsetting, a feeling
that didn’t truly matter, because Gumbel claimed Scott couldn’t quote “leave this job and…get
a better one.” Consumer reporter David Horowitz was what
Gumble called “a walking cliché,” and Gumbel wasn’t at all a fan of film critic Gene Shalit’s
celebrity interviews. Except for some backstage personnel changes,
things eventually blew over at Today, at least as far as Gumbel was concerned. He stayed with the show until 1997, nearly
a decade after he wrote that catty memo. Jane Pauley is forced out Since 1976, Jane Pauley had served as the
co-anchor of Today, consistently leading the show to the top of the ratings. In 1989, however, she abruptly left with two
years still on her contract. She reportedly saw the writing on the wall
and opted to quit instead of getting fired. She told Life magazine, “I had no idea what I wanted to do, but choosing
to go was surely better than being told to go.” In 1989, NBC execs had added newsreader Deborah
Norville to Today. A former anchor on NBC News at Sunrise, Norville
didn’t sit behind a desk, which was the Today show custom up to that point. Instead, she appeared right next to Pauley
and Gumbel as an equal. Speculation and rumor held that Pauley, in
her late thirties at the time, was about to get pushed aside for the younger, bubblier,
and blonder Norville. One bit of evidence was that NBC paid Norville
$1 million a year, and Pauley got $1.2 million. “The transition from Jane Pauley to Deborah
Norville was much bumpier than anticipated.” When Pauley quit, she was indeed replaced
by Norville, but fearing another network could poach her for their own morning show, NBC
tried to keep Pauley happy and in-house with a series of prime-time specials and a news
magazine show called Real Life. Deborah Norville’s hot minute The revolving door of Today hosts in the early
’90s is one of NBC’s most famous personnel debacles. And the show experienced some growing pains
after Norville controversially replaced Jane Pauley. In the first year or so of the Norville era,
Today never finished first in the morning news show weekly ratings, according to the
LA Times. Viewers flat out didn’t like Norville, or
they didn’t like her as much as Pauley, or they didn’t like how NBC handled the situation,
in which they appeared to let industry gossip control the narrative. The whole thing apparently translated into
the show subsequently dropping behind ABC’s Good Morning America, according to the Chicago
Tribune. Norville told the outlet, “I got bruised badly. I was hurt because there were members of the
press whom I had considered friends who didn’t bother to call me, never tried to verify stories
that were absolutely untrue.” “I’ve, I’ve never really spoken about what
was going on behind the scenes in any detail…I felt very wounded when I left NBC.” But it got worse. In the spring of ’91, while Norville was on
maternity leave, NBC announced that she had decided to quote “focus her next year on motherhood.” Her replacement: substitute anchor Katie Couric. Tom Cruise vs. Matt Lauer In 2005, actress Brooke Shields revealed in
her memoir, Down Came the Rain, that she had taken antidepressants to help with postpartum
depression after the 2003 birth of her daughter. Soon thereafter, Tom Cruise tore into Shields,
calling her “irresponsible” for promoting antidepressants. He told Access Hollywood, “When someone says [a mood stabilizer] has
helped them, it is to cope, it didn’t cure anything. There is no science. There is nothing that can cure them whatsoever.” Cruise advocated for quote, “vitamins and
exercise,” which is in line with the teachings of the Church of Scientology, of which the
actor is a famous adherent. “I’ve never agreed with psychiatry, ever. Uhhhh…Before I was a Scientologist I never
agreed with psychiatry.” A few weeks later, Cruise sat down with Matt
Lauer on Today. But when Lauer broached the Brooke Shields
medication topic, and pressed about the possible benefits of psychiatric drugs, Cruise countered
with a rant about Ritalin, explaining that he knew things that Lauer clearly did not. “Do you know what Adderall is, do you know
Ritalin? Here’s the problem. You don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do.” Lauer pointed out that Shields hadn’t taken
antidepressants against her will, to which Cruise famously accused the Today host of
being “glib.” “You don’t even, you’re glib. You don’t even know what Ritalin is.” The ill-timed Kris Jenner interview On September 11th, 2012, the 11th anniversary
of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama led a
national moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. And while Good Morning America and This Morning
both aired the ceremony, the Today show definitely didn’t. “Yes, I had my implants done in 1989, and
that was a long time ago.” According to Fox News, during the national
moment of silence, Today’s Savannah Guthrie was interviewing Keeping Up with the Kardashians
star Kris Jenner. Only NBC’s New York affiliate cut away from
the Jenner interview for a remembrance from Ground Zero. In the wake of backlash, then-president of
NBC News, Steve Capus issued a memo to those stations which aired the Jenner interview,
writing, “Yesterday, we made an editorial call resulting
in the September 11th moment of silence not being seen. While we dedicated a substantial amount of
airtime to anniversary events, we still touched a nerve with many of your viewers…and for
that we apologize.” Billy Bush and the Trump tape Entertainment journalist and omnipresent TV
show host of the 2000s, Billy Bush has now been closely linked to three American presidents. “I’ve never really faced any kind of adversity,
and then all of a sudden, yeah, it’s a cannonball through the side of the ship.” George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are his
cousins, and then, in 2016, a tape leaked of Billy hanging out with Donald Trump while
making a segment for Bush’s show, Access Hollywood. The tape depicted Trump boasting to a laughing
Bush about how he liked to grab women and kiss them, which the then-candidate for president
dismissed as quote, “locker room banter.” Trump went on to win the 2016 presidential
election while Billy was suspended from his job as a Today co-host, and then straight-up
fired. “NBC News announced last night that Billy
Bush would be leaving the Today Show effective immediately.” Seven months later, Billy semi-apologized,
telling The Hollywood Reporter, “Anyone who is participating in that moment
is going to get it. In that way, I deserved it. Judgment day arrived all of a sudden and very
quickly, and it is my own personal hell that judgment day was solely based upon a bad moment
12 years ago and not the complete evolution of the man. But that’s my own private cross to bear and
my own issue to work through. It does not in any way excuse the moment on
that tape and the way people reacted because I completely understand it.” Tamron Hall’s fast exit Tamron Hall joined the NBC family in 2007,
where she wrote and delivered news for cable and broadcast shows such as Countdown with
Keith Olbermann, The Big Picture, NewsNation with Tamron Hall, and Today’s Take, the 9
a.m. hour of Today, making her the first African-American woman to anchor Today. But in February 2017, NBC shook up the nine
o’clock hour again and brought in Fox News star Megyn Kelly to helm the time slot. Rumor had it that rather than be publicly
forced out of her job, Hall quit Today, effective almost immediately. “As some of you may have heard by now, our
good friend Tamron Hall has decided to leave NBC News.” But she didn’t just walk away from Today;
she left the entirety of NBC, saying in a statement: “The last 10 years have been beyond anything
I could have imagined, and I’m grateful. I’m also very excited about the next chapter. To all my great colleagues, I will miss you
and I will be rooting for you.” The Matt Lauer scandal After taking over for Bryant Gumbel in ’97,
Matt Lauer dominated morning TV until 2017, at which point NBC paid him an astounding
$20 million annual salary, according to Fortune. But his career came to an abrupt halt that
November after an NBC internal investigation of a female colleague accused him of quote,
“inappropriate…behavior during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.” Subsequent investigations by Variety and The
New York Times found that as many as eight women had been allegedly victimized by Lauer,
including former Today staffer, Addie Zinone. “And he said, ‘I hope you don’t take me to
personnel for saying this.’ So there was some sort of, from him, knowing
that this is crossing a boundary.” After being immediately fired, the disgraced
TV host issued a statement in which he apologized for some of his actions but denied others. He said, “There are no words to express my sorrow and
regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of
the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue
or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed
and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the
people I cherish dearly.” Passing on Megyn Kelly In October 2018, NBC confirmed that Megyn
Kelly’s run as host the 9 a.m. hour of Today was over. The decision followed Kelly’s remarks during
her October 2018 broadcast about controversial Halloween costumes. “You do get in trouble if you are a white
person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for
Halloween, like, back when I was a kid that was okay.” The backlash was so severe, including that
from her NBC colleagues, that Kelly emailed an apology to her staff, then tearfully apologized
to her entire viewing audience the next day. “Good morning everyone and welcome to the
show. I’m Megyn Kelly, and I wanna begin with two
words: I’m sorry.” It would be her last live segment on the show,
ever. But the writing may already have been on the
wall for Kelly. As The New York Times pointed out, her Today
ratings weren’t impressive enough for the network brass to support her through such
a storm. This is likely due to several other boat-rocking
moments the former Fox News anchor caused, like her coverage of the Matt Lauer scandal,
and her implication that NBC mishandled an internal investigation into their decision
not to run Ronan Farrow’s expose on Harvey Weinstein. The silver lining for Kelly? NBC News reported she got to keep the $69
million owed to her thanks to her three-year deal. Ann Curry’s “professional torture” Ann Curry snagged the co-anchor seat on Today
in 2011. According to The New York Times reporter Brian
Stelter’s deeply sourced account, Curry’s quote “ambition” to lead a news program at
NBC was “legendary,” taking her nearly 20 years to achieve. But one year later, she was gone, ousted in
what Stelter called a quote “public-relations debacle” that “deeply [damaged] the most lucrative
franchise in television news.” “And for all of you who saw me as a ground-breaker,
I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but man, I did try.” Citing sinking ratings and Curry’s apparent
unease with lighter gossip topics, NBC brass informed Curry she was being transitioned
to the role of “global anchor,” removing her from daily hosting duties, and allowing her
to tackle more serious topics. However, Stelter alleged that behind the scenes,
Matt Lauer and programming execs, who reportedly didn’t like Curry, fomented an uncomfortable
work culture, one that Curry allegedly described as quote, “professional torture” as well as
a “boys’ club atmosphere.” “I mean, I want to be honest and that is that,
I mean, it hurt a lot to feel that you weren’t wanted anymore.” The ratings dip ruse revealed itself immediately
as viewers bailed on the show after Curry’s exit, and she spent years apparently languishing
in her new role before leaving the network for good in 2015. Upon Lauer’s downfall in 2017, Curry returned
to the spotlight in an interview with rival network CBS, saying in reference to her time
at NBC, “The fact that we are moving against this
imbalance of power is absolutely overdue.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Nicki Swift videos about your
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100 thoughts on “Huge Scandals That Completely Shook The Today Show

  1. Infamous game show contestant, Charlies van Doren had a job on Today in their early years; he got ousted from the show after it was learned what he did on "21", along with many other contestants who lied through their teeth to the Grand Jury. He eventually came clean about it, but his life was never the same after that.

  2. Ann Curry is a nice lady but I didn’t like her on the show from day one. She was a square peg in a round hole. I didn’t like Katie unless it was a light topic. She is not main host material. She needs a limited role with simple light topics. She sucks a serious topics and interviews.

  3. You list me at the statement of "first african american female"….. so sick and tired of that sh*t! BYE! I'm gone!

  4. I’m glad everything worked out for Tamara and Ann NBC should’ve known as for Meghan Kelley once a Fox personnel ALWAYS a Fox person.

  5. Matt’s downfall was quite satisfying. No long farewell or self-gratifying goodbye. Just here one day, gone the next. It was GLORIOUS.

  6. Here's the scandal you missed. Why did they just ask the black guy, why not ask everyone? could it be because they won't fire the black guy; which is why he can be so opinionated and that name always bothered me. Brian with a Y, make it either gumball or dumbbell, not both.

  7. See that's what I don't understand is double standards why in the hell would Billy Bush lose his career and he was just laughing when the idiot Donald Trump was the one who said he did the stuff and laughed about it both of them so both of them should have received the same criticism the same backlash and that double standard or what

  8. I’ve been around for most of these scandals. Even so, I was still a viewer (‘fan’ is too strong a word) for many years — even though Bryant Gumbel’s ego and glib manner was hard to take, and Willard Scott was too goofy for words sometimes. When Matt Lauer became lead anchor, I started noticing occasional misogynistic comments — whether on The Today Show or on a late night talk show where he was a guest; that’s when my intense dislike of him started. The scandals he caused (most of which NBC turned a blind eye to) were not a huge shock to me because there was evidence of his true character already. However, the sexual assault of a staffer in his office was a total shock; even I didn’t think he would sink that low. That made me finally swear off The Today Show for good.

    I’m sorry for what people suffered because of him. Unfortunately, too many people were hurt in the wake of his karma finally biting him in the ass.

    Oh, and btw — this is for NBC execs: You SUCK.

  9. Ann Curry gave NBC class…. I stopped watching the second she was ‘fired’!!!! Haven’t watched it since…. p.s. I so love Tamera Hall!

  10. The only news I watch is my local news. I can’t stomach the network news because it’s all about bashing President Trump! And they are a bunch of left winged morons!

  11. How is it so much money, yet so many people poor. But mothafuckas can get over millions in salary… yet the country is in debt. SO.E WHERE THERE IS SOME LIES.

  12. I would love to send my son to spend a day with Tom Cruise while he isn’t on his ADHD medicine and I bet you he would change his opinion on Ritalin almost immediately. I can handle my son not on medication because as his mom that’s my job to deal with it but I make sure he takes it each morning before school because he honestly will drive someone crazy with the million and one questions he will ask people even though he knows all the answers to these questions, he is very intelligent but when not on the medication his mind goes a million miles a minute so he just keeps asking all the questions that come to his mind. He is about to be 15, so you can just imagine what some are the questions are that i get now. Most of the time lately he asks questions that make me start laughing til i have tears in my eyes because they are totally inappropriate and I am just happy he asks me this stuff at home and not out in public, which sometimes he does and i just give him the look of “you better not ask it again” and he knows he has gone to far. But any one that has not raised a child with ADHD does not understand that some of these drugs are 100% necessary, I don’t agree with adderall though, it made my son a totally different child when he was little, to the point i would lock myself in my room and cry because he was just mean and I didn’t like my own child at times.

  13. Pro black-face Megyn Kelly over Tamron Hall, the shows first black female anchor. Great choice TODAY🤬

  14. I remember katie looking furious & ashamed after willard offered to keep her "company" after her husband had died some time before. Never saw him on after

  15. There is not that many people wasting their time with all the commercials on these shows any more. (I did like Tamron)

  16. I’m so happy for Senator Lindsey Graham, who appeared today on CBS’s Face the Nation, as the blond that he always knew was deep inside, “oh happy day”…

  17. All the chronic news watchers may have already noticed the anchoring
    chairs are being ‘manned’ by the second tier of on-air talent, younger women, or
    program second bananas, after all it’s a holiday week. This warning is being
    issued in preparation for all the rainbow of hair shades that will be on
    display on these youngsters heads, its their chance to shine, anyone that has
    followed the replacement story on NY1, is painfully aware of the older women
    having been weeded out for younger journalistic talents, which means appearance
    politics will be ruling the airways more so in clear view this week than most
    others. Not to worry, the few gray haired as possible policy will still be enforced,
    it’s just more practical, for appearance sake, to hair dye the women than to endure
    and hear the laugh track of oddity generated by the faked hair dyes on the
    heads of the males, especially the over fifty-year-old. To end on a happy
    observation, we all have our favorite male news anchors and reporters, have
    been watching and enjoying their toil for years, not once did any of them ever
    display a single hair or gray, and that’s a good thing in face of appearance continuity,
    I think?

  18. You don’t take them to cure you, you take them to Stabalize you !!! Cause it can’t be fixed 100% omg 🤦🏻‍♀️😂

  19. When entertainer Stephen Colbert meets journalist Chris
    Wallace, both dressed in hair dye, guaranteeing success and a career…

  20. They say each year, Matt Lauer dresses in disguise and jacks off on the holiday tree in Rockefeller Center. They sya he's very sentimental about his time at NBC.

  21. Unfortunately that's the world we live in when they would rather show an interview with Kris Jenner then show the anniversary ceremony of 9/11.

  22. Unfortunately that's the world we live in when they would rather show an interview with Kris Jenner then show the anniversary ceremony of 9/11.

  23. Everyone who is affiliated with NBC Especially the people who are running it should be sent to Guantanamo Bay, you think just because you have all that money you can say and do anything you want but your time is running out. And all that money won’t do you any good, they are coming for you and you don’t even know it. I am just very happy that I will live to see it and to know that you are in Guantanamo Bay for Christmas.

  24. Well, they hired Jenna Bush who had no prior journalist experience (she majored in elementary education)…that should tell you all you need to know about “Today”’s credentials.

  25. Lesson: Everyone is replaceable. Don't devote your whole self, your whole LIFE, to your job.

    I drove by what used to be a beautiful old hospital and wondered about the people who used to work there. Now the place is crumbling. At that time I was young and refused to take days off work, even when I was ill, due to an ornery boss. Also, I thought my workplace could not do without me. When I finally left to take another job I was AMAZED that no one EVER called me, even to ask where I kept the pencils or the batteries.

    Yeah, no one is gonna miss your ass! Keep it in mind.

  26. F*** the MALES OF NBC!!! Notice I didn’t say ‘men’, because there is NONE! Bunch of self indulgent sex addicts rapists and pervs!!! Oh they’re involved like this on the other major networks too-nbc just thrown under bus where they all belong!!!

  27. Being in the news industry just looks….scary, like heart attack stressful, especially for women, always someone younger, prettier trying to get your job😳

  28. It’s no mystery to me…Ever wonder what ever happened to some
    of your favorite televison journalists that turned forty-five or older, well
    many of them are still anchoring and reporting, still anchoring and reporting
    that is, if they can be fixed, by fixed I mean, hair dyed or with an old
    fashioned, ‘clip and tuck’, cosmetic surgery, to improve their personhood and
    marketability enabling them to appear a few years younger. Those of them that
    cannot be fixed, have long been traded in, replaced by a much younger model,
    but only when five female NY1 television journalists claimed age and gender
    discrimination sued, that is still pending, did this practice come to light in
    a big way, and I am very sympathetic to their cause, that is one of those
    ‘inconvenient truths’…that is trying in the market place, especially among
    women, we may be wondering why there are not more marching in the streets, well
    its because of the benefits being enjoyed by those much younger models…and dare
    not rock the boat…

  29. Ann Curry was probably one of the BEST people in morning news EVER! Just another in a long line of females that NBC News screwed over.

  30. I can't watch Today show anymore!! Its not news anymore!! All they talk about is their kids and family, books or projects they have going on or what they had for dinner. Its not worth watching!!

  31. The biggest scandal is about to be exposed. Mainstream media's complicit actions in the Obama administration's illegal spying and fraud perpetrated against the FISA Court and their attempt to take down a duly elected President of the United States of America.

  32. Truth .Diva Matt L was the reason why Billy Bush did not keep the job at evil N B C..Tamarin Hall was a B..and no many could stand her..the N.B.C.mgmt knew about pervert ways that got Matt L fired. When Meghan Kelly was fired..becouse of the click..run by Al Broker..Matt L Savannah G K.K..😜truth is said to say..the MGMT at N.B.C..sucks. They hired to be at the morning desk Koda K..the most undsuitable ever..not just ugliest..but immature 54 going on 5 yrs old..😜🤮😵😠👿🌚💩🤡

  33. I could never stand Brian Gumble..he always came across as an arrogant, pompous jerk! Two people on TTS who always exhibited class intelligence and a down to earth persona was Ann Curry and Tamera Hall. The station should have handled Tamera Hall's situation much better. When she left I left..

  34. Went to Rockefeller Center one morning and got on TV for like 2 seconds holding up sign on the Today Show. That was cool.

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