He’s only sorry because he got caught.
For 20 years, Lauer has been a constant presence on early-morning television, prepping viewers for the day’s news, scandals, setbacks and celebrations. The on-air staff of “Today” was, to many, an extended family, anchored by its boyish patriarch and a succession of smart and lovely female co-hosts.
Of course the problem with having a patriarch, boyish or no, is that it establishes a patriarchy. Ever since Jane Pauley met Bryant Gumbel, networks have clung to the notion that a successful morning show requires some sort of “marriage” in the middle, a bantering between the sexes to give the downtime juice and make viewers feel like they were hanging out with friends over their morning coffee.
Unfortunately, the dynamic of many of these shows, including “CBS This Morning,” from which Charlie Rose was recently canned for similar reasons, is based on the man having the bigger role (and, inevitably, paycheck.)
The longer Lauer reigned at “Today,” the more the marriage in the middle came to resemble one of the grimmer bigamous situations in “Big Love,” with Lauer at command central, surrounded by equally talented yet clearly not as high-status female co-hosts and co-anchors.
Two of whom — Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb — had to do the dirty work of breaking the Lauer news, which they had obviously just received themselves, on Wednesday morning.