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Hoda Kotb Matt's Cool with Me Taking Over And About My Paycheck ...

1/3/2018 11:17 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Hoda Kotb isn't sweating reports she's making $18 million less than Matt Lauer after taking over his "Today" co-anchor seat ... and insists there's no bad blood with her ex-coworker.

We got Hoda Wednesday morning outside 30 Rock, and she said Matt sent her a congratulatory text after finding out she got the gig. Then we asked about her alleged new salary of about $7 million -- the same as Savannah Guthrie -- but way less than Lauer.

Hoda addressed it ... with all the class you'd expect.

'The Voice' Lawsuit You Booted Me ... Even Though Michelle Obama Invited Me

1/2/2018 8:05 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

A guy who says Michelle Obama invited him to a taping of "The Voice" is suing NBC after claiming the network treated him like a criminal, and now he struggles to find work.

Greg Duncan says The Office of the First Lady back in 2016 invited him to a taping honoring military veterans. He says he went through 2 security screens and an agent from the U.S. Secret Service told him to enjoy the show.

But in docs -- obtained by TMZ -- Duncan says he was later approached by NBC's security and Sheriffs and told to scram. He says no explanation was given and only that the Secret Service ordered him gone.

Duncan says he had a meeting set for June 17, 2016 with the Secret Service to get the low-down on why he was booted. Problem is ... Duncan, who says he's a commander with the U.S. Coast Guard, says he showed up to NBC's lot the day before for a commercial shoot but was told he's permanently banned.

Duncan says he was told he resembled a "lookout" for a group that got a hold of wristbands to gain unauthorized admission. Duncan says NBC got the wrong guy and NBC's ban has hurt his ability to get a job. He's suing for unspecified damages. We've reached out to NBC, so far no word back.

Hoda Kotb See Ya, Matt Lauer ... Officially Named 'Today' Co-Anchor

1/2/2018 6:01 AM PST
Breaking News

Hoda Kotb's slipping into Matt Lauer's old chair after being named the "Today" show co-anchor.

NBC made it official Tuesday morning ... and Hoda and her new partner, Savannah Guthrie, breathlessly announced it at the top of the show.

Back on Nov. 29  ... Hoda and Savannah dropped the shocker that the Peacock had fired Matt Lauer over sexual harassment claims made by more than a dozen women.

Hoda's workload just skyrocketed ... in addition to replacing Matt, she'll also keep her gig co-hosting with Kathie Lee Gifford for the 4th hour of 'Today.'

David Spade Just Shoot Me the Bill, Waiter ... After a Cast Reunion Dinner

12/17/2017 10:48 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

David Spade continues to pay the price for starring on "Just Shoot Me!" ... especially when the cast gets together for a reunion dinner.

We got David, Laura San Giacomo, Wendie Malick and pretty much everyone else from Blush magazine Saturday night at Craig's in WeHo. We asked who picks up the tab, and Dave says it always seems to make it to his seat, for some reason. 

Laura had a great response, btw, when we asked if Blush got swallowed up by Disney -- since it seems to be buying everything else in media these days. 

We're guessing Spade would appreciate the Mouse House buying one of these dinners.

Matt Lauer Wry Response At Long Island Deli

12/6/2017 10:55 AM PST

Matt Lauer hit up a Long Island deli late Wednesday morning ... the same deli his wife hit up hours earlier.

Matt walked out of the Jimmy Jims Deli with another customer -- the 2 clearly had some sort of conversation inside and said goodbye to each other as they walked out the door.

He was much more subdued with the photog who asked about the various allegations.

It's interesting ...  his wife, Annette, was not wearing a wedding ring when she made her deli run. Matt was not wearing his ring either. 

Matt Lauer Nothing But Time To Be a Hands-On Dad

12/4/2017 10:53 AM PST

Matt Lauer's punching in for his new gig ... picking up kids for his elementary school carpool.

Lauer was driving his 11-year-old son, Thijs, to school Monday morning, and also scooped up one of his kid's friends too. Coming off a $25 million/year gig at NBC ... we're guessing the disgraced news anchor is immediately in the running for world's richest school bus driver.

Interestingly, Lauer is still rocking his wedding ring ... as he was last week too.

His wife, Annette Roque, reportedly left town in the days after his firing.

Billy Bush to Donald Trump Yes, You Said That 'Grab 'Em By the P****'

12/3/2017 5:31 PM PST
Breaking News

Billy Bush is calling out Donald Trump ... asserting that it was, in fact, him on the Access Hollywood tape, and he DID say "Grab 'em by the p****."

Bush penned an op-ed for the New York Times Sunday with the title "Yes, Donald Trump, You Said That."  In the piece, he says it clear as day ... "He said it. 'Grab ‘em by the p****.' Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator."

Trump has reportedly tried casting doubt on the authenticity of the Access Hollywood tape, suggesting it could be a fake. But Bush crushes that notion completely.

The op-ed also covers Bush's rise at NBC, with a seemingly defiant Bush writing ...  "Was I acting out of self-interest? You bet I was. Was I alone? Far from it. With Mr. Trump’s outsized viewership back in 2005, everybody from Billy Bush on up to the top brass on the 52nd floor had to stroke the ego of the big cash cow along the way to higher earnings."

He adds ... "None of us were guilty of knowingly enabling our future president. But all of us were guilty of sacrificing a bit of ourselves in the name of success."

Bush ends by saying the past year has been an awakening for him, and he feels he's a better man now for his 3 daughters. He left NBC after the tape surfaced last year during the election.

Matt Lauer Still Welcome at Favorite NYC Restaurant

12/3/2017 12:40 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Matt Lauer's not getting his ass kicked to the curb in NYC ... at least when it comes to his favorite restaurant.

We're told Matt is more than welcome at Fresco by Scotto in NYC, despite the mounting sexual misconduct allegations that got him canned after more than 20 years at NBC.

Owner Anthony Scotto tells TMZ, Lauer and his brood are like family and, despite the allegations, he'd give Matt a hug the next time he comes into the restaurant.

The ex-"Today" host has been going to the place for 16 years ... dining there last with his family just this past Thanksgiving. He's already been seen out and about in the Hamptons ... but showing up in NYC's a different beast.

BTW ... Fresco's frequented by a bunch of celebs and sports stars ... including backup NY Giants QB Eli Manning.

Seth Meyers Goes After Matt Lauer 'You're the Dildo at Work'

12/1/2017 6:32 AM PST

Seth Meyers ripped Matt Lauer a new one on his show Friday morning over the sexual misconduct that got him fired.

Meyers turned Lauer's own words on him in the interview the former "Today" show host did with Bill O'Reilly. He also joked about the venue that caused Lauer's career to unravel ... the 2014 Sochi Olympics, saying everyone thought Bob Costas' pink eye was the grossest thing that happened. As we reported, the woman who lodged the complaint with NBC Monday says it happened at Sochi.

It's interesting ... Meyers is also on NBC.

Meredith Vieira's Husband My Wife Was Not Offended by 2006 Video

11/30/2017 11:44 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer loved sharing a good joke and she had no problem when Matt leered at her and asked her to bend more so he could see her cleavage ... so says Meredith's husband.

Richard Cohen -- a noted journalist and author -- tells TMZ he's aware of the 2006 video TMZ posted Wednesday and said it was not inappropriate. Cohen says they had that kind of relationship where such comments were not off limits.

Richard says during Meredith's 10-year run at "Today" she was never aware of any sexual misconduct allegations lodged against Matt. He was emphatic ... Matt never did anything untoward with his wife. Richard goes on to say he and Meredith occasionally had dinner with Matt and he was nothing but a great guy.

As we reported ... Matt and Meredith had another now-cringeworthy moment last year when she confronted Matt about a "huge bag of sex toys" in his office. As you know, he allegedly gave a sex toy to a female staffer as a gift.

Meredith Vieira Called Out Matt Lauer for 'Huge Bag of Sex Toys' in his Office

11/30/2017 10:39 AM PST

Meredith Vieira brought up a "bag of sex toys" she once found in Matt Lauer's office -- and you gotta see how Matt expertly tap danced out of the awkward convo.

The now-cringeworthy moment went down in 2016 when Matt and Savannah Guthrie were guests on Meredith's talk show. She put Matt on blast by bringing up the bag she says she found back when she was co-hosing the "Today" show with him.

Matt was quick on his feet, and blamed a sex therapist who had appeared on "Today" -- although Meredith and Savannah don't seem to be buying his memory of it.

The anecdote is interesting now after one of Lauer's accusers told Variety he once gifted a sex toy to a female employee.

Not mentioned during Matt's guest spot on Meredith's show ... the video TMZ posted of Matt creepily whispering to Meredith, "Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view."

Now, THAT would've been an interesting discussion.

Matt Lauer Embarrassed and Ashamed ... 'Repairing the Damage'

11/30/2017 5:00 AM PST
Breaking News

Matt Lauer has a new job -- cleaning up the mess he's created in his personal and professional life.

The fired "Today" show co-host says he's "embarrassed and ashamed" ... but also claimed that some of the allegations against him are "untrue or mischaracterized."

Lauer's ex co-workers, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, read his statement at the top of the "Today" show Thursday morning -- and in it, he said his new full-time job was doing some "soul searching" in order to repair the damage.

He did not specify which of the myriad of allegations of sexual misconduct were untrue, in his eyes.

Meanwhile, Lauer's former cohorts soldiered on without him Wednesday night -- Al Roker, Hoda and Savannah looked tense during a break from taping the annual Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting special. 

Matt Lauer Free Rein At 'Today' NBC Bosses Be Damned

11/30/2017 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Matt Lauer was able to get away with a lot at the "Today" show for decades ... because the show made its own rules, and routinely ignored its bosses at the network.

Sources connected to both "Today" and NBC tell TMZ, a number of NBC News presidents and other executives tried to set rules for the morning show, but they were routinely ignored.

We're told "Today" operated as a separate entity from NBC management. As one source put it, "They did what they wanted to do."

We're told there were times when an NBC News president would tell the bosses at "Today" they had to run certain stories and the president would be routinely ignored. We're told sometimes the folks at "Today" would ignore basic rules ... such as restrictions on footage it acquired ... despite NBC News guidelines.

One NBC News source said, "'Today' was astonishingly uncooperative with our other shows like 'Nightly [News]' and 'Dateline.'"  

As for why this happened ... there are several reasons.  Many people on the staff work in the middle of the night, so they rarely interacted with others at NBC. One source said, "It ['Today'] was like a beehive where they only talked to each other." The biggest reason for the culture at "Today" ... as one source put it, "They were in a knife fight every day with 'GMA' and didn't want to hear anyone trying to rein them in."

One reason the attitude at "Today" was tolerated ... the show makes a ton of money for the network.

Even though Matt would say things with a hot mic -- like telling Meredith Vieira to keep bending down because he likes the view -- such hijinks didn't necessarily make their way to the big bosses because what happened at "Today" usually stayed at "Today."

Finally, there's one irony that some NBC News employees are talking about ... Matt hated it when Ann Curry would touch him on the air and often voiced his clear displeasure. Arm touching is hardly an offense given what's come out over the last day.

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