Last week, Matt Lauer was fired from The TODAY Show following an allegation of sexual misconduct that was later elaborated upon in a report by Variety. In the story published on November 29, three women accused the host of inappropriate sexual conduct during his time at NBC. The New York Times then reported that NBC received an additional two complaints following his dismissal.
In the wake of his exit, Entertainment Weekly reports that ratings for TODAY rose, averaging 4.9 million viewers, which is 14 percent higher than its usual number. This means the talk show surpassed its competition, Good Morning America, which was right behind at 4.4 million, and CBS This Morning at 3.5 million.
But more specifically, the Wednesday Lauer's removal was announced, TODAY's viewership rose to 5.7 million, maintaining high numbers for the rest of the week. It's likely viewers' sudden interest in the TV show is due to their desire to see how the staff handle this shake-up, as well as the current conversation surrounding sexual assault. As Entertainment Weekly points out, a better idea of ratings will be determined in the following months.
"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions," Lauer said in a statement read by his former colleagues at The TODAY Show last week. "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."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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