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6/13/2014 5:21 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

Matt Lauer Contract Extended
Matt Lauer places silver in the morning show ratings, but he's gold at NBC ... because the network has just re-signed him for multiple years.

Lauer has been through a rough few years, playing the role of scapegoat for NBC's botched firing of Ann Curry.  And the show slipped from ratings dominance.

But the criticism has subsided and the show's rating have gone up some ... so NBC just re-signed Lauer with just a few months to go before his contract expired.

Lauer was earning around $30 million in his last contract, and it's a safe bet he got a raise.
 
This could be an interesting summer for the show.  Savannah Guthrie is on maternity leave, and the plan was for Katie Couric to temporarily re-team with Matt.

Another good lesson ... you can never take a snapshot of someone in troubled times and assume things won't get better.

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