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.
Fitness Babe Cara Castronuova
Hell, I'll Date Anyone ... For $10K
4/6/2014 12:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Fitness guru Cara Castronuova isn't very discriminating ... she'll go on a date with ANYONE who's willing to pay the asking price -- $10,000.
Cara -- an ex-trainer on "The Biggest Loser" -- tells TMZ she's raising money for her charity -- Knockout Obesity -- by offering a romantic evening in NYC with anyone who ponies up 10 grand.
The best part ... she's open to men and women.
Cara says she hopes to go on at least 3 dates so she can send 50 overweight kids to fat camp. She's moved by the heartbreaking letters she gets ... including one from a boy who told her he desperately wants to shed lbs so other kids will stop pinching his stomach.
So what do you get for your money? Cara says the date consists of dinner at a really nice place and then seeing the new Rocky musical on Broadway.
But here's the deal ... you have to pick up the tab for dinner ... and pay your own way to NYC. She'll take care of the theater tix.
There could be an added bonus ... she says, "Maybe I can find love and kill two birds with one stone."
I Wanted Out of "GMA" So Bad
I Took a Pay Cut!
4/1/2014 6:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Josh Elliott was so disgusted with ABC ... he took a pay cut of more than a million dollars ... multiple sources connected with both ABC and NBC tell TMZ.
Our sources say ABC offered Josh between $4 and $5 million to stay, but he chose NBC despite the fact that they offered him just over $3 million.
We're told Josh was at the point of no return when Robin Roberts signed a $14 million a year contract to anchor GMA. He felt slighted by the ABC offer and just wanted out.
Sources say the feeling is mutual. As one source put it, "He's definitely an abrasive guy." Another source says, "People hated him. He was always just rude."
And get this ... we're told just weeks ago Sr. VP of ABC News James Goldston confronted Amy Robach -- Josh's replacement on GMA -- and called her "toxic" because she created tension on the set. Indeed, we're told Amy and Lara Spencer "hate" each other and can't hide their contempt.
Another source says Robin Roberts hasn't helped matters -- one person saying she acts like a "diva" on the set.
As for Josh's future ... our network sources say NBC did NOT promise Josh any role on "Today," but we're told there's no doubt he's got to the top of the heap as the likely successor to Matt Lauer.
Morning TV ... it's just like grade school, only all the students are really rich.
Kenan Kinda Dissed Me, But ...
I'll Give Him Another Chance
4/1/2014 12:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell came thiiiiiis close to squashing their longstanding beef at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards -- Kel totally thought it was happening ... and then it didn't.
We caught up with Kel in Sherman Oaks Monday, and he told our camera guy he was under the impression during their segment Sunday night ... Kenan would give him a shout out.
For everyone above the age of 12 who missed it -- Nickelodeon gave one of the executive producers of "Kenan & Kel" a Lifetime Achievement award, and Thompson sent in a recorded speech where he never acknowledged working with Kel.
Sources close to Kenan say it wasn't meant to be a diss ... producers didn't tell him to mention Kel until after the piece had been filmed and he was too busy for a re-shoot.
Kel says he's not mad -- and even offers one final plea to Kenan in regard to a reunion.
Watch ... it has nothing to do with orange soda.
'Tonight Show' Star David Brenner
On Death Bed
3/15/2014 7:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
David Brenner -- who holds the record for number of appearances on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson -- is on his death bed and people close to him say it's just a matter of days.
Sources close to Brenner say the 78-year-old comedian has cancer that has been aggressive ... spreading rapidly.
We're told Brenner slipped into a coma this week ... and doctors don't expect him to pull through.
David sat on Carson's couch 158 times ... and even hosted the "Tonight Show" a few times.
He was also a frequent guest on Howard Stern's radio show.
4:00 PM PST -- Brenner's rep says the comedian passed away Saturday evening.
Lawyer Fires Back
I Wasn't Promoting Me, I Was Promoting You!
3/13/2014 2:15 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The personal injury lawyer who just got his ass sued by Judge Judy insists Judy's got her robe in a bunch for no reason -- telling TMZ, he wasn't using her image to promote himself ... he was using it to promote HER.
As we reported, Judy sued attorney John Haymond claiming he stole clips from her show to use in a commercial to promote his law firm -- but Haymond says that's just not the case.
He tells us, the commercial in question is actually for her OWN SHOW.
According to Haymond, the local ABC affiliate in New Haven, CT and NBC affiliate in Springfield recently asked Haymond -- a well-known personal injury lawyer in the area -- and his daughters to appear in the Judge Judy promo ... and he obliged.
Haymond says the promotions actually ran on the station several years ago, but recently stopped, and he's surprised the station isn't owning up. According to Haymond, "If the local affiliates would just release these Judge Judy Show promotions, everyone would see this is much ado about nothing."
What Haymond isn't addressing -- apparently Judy doesn't think he has the right to take old commercials targeted for her show and then slap them on his website long after the fact.
Johnny Carson's Penis ...
I TOUCHED IT
3/12/2014 11:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Unlike the rest of the universe, Joan Rivers isn't all that curious about seeing how big Johnny Carson's penis really is in that sex tape -- because she says ... she's already seen it up close and personal.
Joan -- who guest hosted on Carson's "Tonight Show" for years -- said she and Carson had a "one night bounce" back in the day ... and he was hung like a horse.
Still, Joan says she REALLY wants to see the sex tape for another reason -- check the clip.
Not Impressed by Carson's Junk
3/11/2014 8:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Add Dave Chappelle to the list of people in awe of Johnny Carson's sex tape ... especially after we broke it down -- inch by inch -- for him last night.
Dave was actually in total disbelief when we told him about Carson's videotaped sex romp outside DBA nightclub in West Hollywood.
But you gotta see his face and hear his reaction when we tell him just how #blessed Carson was -- 10 inches by some reports.
Side note: Dave rolled up to the club in a convertible Porsche. He's still rich biaatch!!!
Reunited with Husband
After Publicly Cheating on Him
3/11/2014 1:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Katharine McPhee's back with her hubby ... and their dogs.
It's been nearly 5 months since Katharine publicly sucked face with her married "Smash" director Michael Morris -- and sources close to the actress tell us, Katharine has been working hard to patch things up with her husband Nick Cokas.
Katharine and Nick are currently living apart -- but we're told they've been hanging out together more and more often recently ... Katharine even bought Nick a brand new Rolex as a make-good for the public humiliation.
Must have worked too -- we're told Nick's leaning toward taking her back.
What did the rooster say the morning after his wife cheated? Cuckoldoodledoo.
NBC Forces Exclusive Deal On Celeb Guests ...
The Peacock Block
3/7/2014 12:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
NBC Threatens Celebs ...
It's Fallon or the Highway
3/6/2014 8:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
NBC is coming down like a hammer on celebs who want to get on Jimmy Fallon's show ... if they dare do a show on CBS or ABC ... they can forget about "The Tonight Show."
Sources connected to CBS, NBC and ABC tell TMZ ... the Peacock network believes Jimmy Fallon's ratings success gives them extreme bargaining power. They put the word out to celebs, agents and publicists ... if they want to be on Fallon they can't appear on ANY other network ... and not just shows that go head-to-head with Jimmy, but morning shows as well.
We're told NBC is saying the stars who go on Fallon are also allowed to appear on "Today," "Dateline" and any similar shows they air, but that's it.
A GMA source tells TMZ ... they've already gotten fallout from people they were trying to book.
Fallon is dominating late night .... crushing Jimmy Kimmel by bringing in more than twice the number of viewers.
Hot Mom ...
or HOT MESS?!
From Fox 411: "Pammy is really good about attending her boys' sporting events, but she doesn't exactly fit in with the other soccer moms."
Click through to Fox 411 to see what some Hollywood kids have to deal with on a daily basis!
'Biggest Loser' Trainer
Super Skinny Champ
Isn't Healthy ... Yet
2/24/2014 9:24 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Biggest Loser" trainer Dolvett Quince still isn't happy with winner Rachel Frederickson's weight -- after she dropped from 260 to a scary 105 pounds -- but he tells TMZ, he's determined to get her healthy.
Rachel won Season 15 earlier this month ... but her dramatic weight loss shocked viewers, who claimed Rachel had lost TOO much weight, bordering on anorexic-looking.
And it appears Quince agrees -- he tells us, "We're going to get her healthy. She's going to be alright ... She's getting healthier every day."
Quince says he's still working with Rachel -- pro bono -- and has a plan to help her get better.
US Hockey Team
FREE PORN FOR TEN YEARS
If They Beat Canada!
2/21/2014 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
As if the men's USA Men's hockey team wasn't under enough pressure ... now a major porn company is making things worse -- by offering them 10 YEARS of free porn if they win gold.
... and not just any porn, HD PORN!!!
TMZ Sports has learned ... Brazzers says each player on the squad will get a month-long membership to the hardcore porn site if they beat Canada today ... and if they win the gold-medal game -- they'll get a full 10-year smut pass!
That's a whooooole lotta smut.
Don't screw it up Oshie.