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For most of Today’s existence, the NBC morning show has dominated the competition. In fact, between December 1995 and April 2012, it bested Good Morning America more than eight hundred and fifty weeks in a row. Unfortunately for network executives, however, the last six months have been far from rosy. Beset by much discussed behind the scenes problems, cast member shake-ups and even some Al Roker on-air frustration over Ann Curry’s firing, the show has bled some of its viewers and watched GMA run right past.

Since Lauer was around for the entirety of that dominant run, most experts have left him out of the what’s-wrong finger-pointing, but if one former NBC News executive is to be believed, the longtime host is actually the problem. An insider told The New York Daily News, his brand has been damaged, and while the actual job he’s doing hasn’t changed, people’s reactions to him have.

It’s certainly a very interesting theory to explain why Today just can’t seem to turn it around. Whether or not it holds any weight is unclear. Lauer’s supposed hand in Curry’s firing definitely wasn’t the best PR he’s ever received, but it’s hard to imagine viewers were so pissed about that they decided to abandon the entire show. Then again, people have jumped ship over a lot less.

What do you think? Is Lauer’s brand damaged? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…

Is Matt The Real Problem?

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