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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.

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.'

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.

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 First Photos After 'Today' Show Firing

11/30/2017 9:54 AM PST

Matt Lauer is out and about running errands on his second day of unemployment ... and, outwardly at least, didn't seem too despaired over his firing. 

Lauer surfaced Thursday for the first time since getting canned from NBC's "Today" show. He was driving around town, near his home in the Hamptons, and made at least one stop to smile and chat with a friend ... before hugging it out.

Worth noting ... Lauer was still wearing his wedding ring. He's been married to Annette Roque since 1998.

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.

Matt Lauer Told Meredith On Camera ... 'Keep Bending Over, Nice View'

11/29/2017 1:57 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Matt Lauer creepily whispered to Meredith Vieira ... "Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view" -- and it happened on set, while cameras were rolling.

This all went down in October 2006, and it's a little bizarre how it got out to the public. The show had gone to commercial, but in at least one city, the local affiliate stayed on NBC's in-studio feed. Matt was seen sitting on the couch as Meredith got mic'd up.

As she leaned over in front of him to grab scripts, you clearly hear Lauer say, "Pretty sweater. Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view." The video never shows a clear view of Meredith's face -- and we initially thought it was Katie Couric -- however the timing makes sense. Meredith took over for Katie in Sept. 2006.

Here's the thing ... NBC says the employee who came forward on Monday was the first complainant ever against Lauer at the network. However, this video makes it clear everyone in the control room -- including the executive producer -- could have heard Lauer's leering behavior. 

Hoda Kotb Thoughts on Matt Lauer? 'I Love Him'

11/29/2017 11:26 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Matt Lauer is gone from "Today," but at least one of his old co-workers still has love for him.

We got Hoda Kotb leaving NBC headquarters in NYC Wednesday after she went on the air to fill in for Matt, who was fired for alleged sexual misconduct.

Our photog asks if she's spoken to Matt since the bombshell news, and if she has any message for him. Forgiveness might be the word of the day.

Interestingly, Hoda appeared alongside another "Today" host, Kathie Lee Gifford, who spilled her guts about her love for Lauer, and the dismay she felt over his firing.

Looks like the feeling is mutual from Hoda.

Matt Lauer's Alma Mater Keeping 'Today' Show Internship He Helped Start

11/29/2017 11:46 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Matt Lauer was an integral part in developing an exclusive NBC journalism internship for Ohio University students, and despite the news of his firing over sexual misconduct, it's going to stay active ... TMZ has learned.

A spokesperson for Ohio U. tells us ... Lauer was instrumental in starting the "Today" Show Internship at Scripps College of Communications in 2000, and over 60 students have benefited from the program since it began.

The school says it's disappointed to hear of Lauer's alleged conduct at NBC, but also believes the news "serves as an opportunity for continued dialogue with our faculty, staff and students about ethical workplace and personal values."

We're told the "Today" internship will go on -- at least for its next session -- and 4 current students are already set to travel to NYC in January for the spring semester internship.

Lauer dropped out of Ohio U. in 1979, but went back to get his undergrad there in 1997 at the age of 39.

As we reported ... he was fired Wednesday morning for "inappropriate sexual behavior."

NBC Execs Meeting with Staff From News Shows ... To Discuss Lauer Firing

11/29/2017 9:39 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

NBC is scrambling to meet with talent and production staff from its news shows to go over various issues related to Matt Lauer's firing.

We're told Noah Oppenheim, President of NBC News, will be leading the meetings. Our NBC sources say Oppenheim and other execs will be addressing staff from each of its shows, including "Today," "NBC Nightly News," "Meet the Press" and "Dateline." There will be a series of meetings ... one for each show.

Our sources say virtually everyone at NBC was in the dark that Lauer was on the chopping block.  

The lawyer for the woman whose complaint triggered Lauer's firing told The New York Times he and his client met with NBC Human Resources and the legal depts. Monday at 6 PM and lodged her complaint.  

As we reported, we're told NBC had been investigating Lauer for weeks and wanted to get ahead of The New York Times and Variety which were preparing stories on Lauer and alleged sexual misconduct.

Matt Lauer Already Scrubbed from 'Today' Social ... Mostly

11/29/2017 8:30 AM PST

Matt Lauer, formerly the face of NBC, is already a ghost as far as the network's online presence is concerned.

Lauer's been replaced on the "Today" cover photos for the show's social media -- specifically Facebook and Twitter. They used to feature Matt and Savannah Guthrie, but now it's more group shots of all NBC's morning personalities.

Matt is still featured in old "Today" Facebook and Twitter photos and clips -- so, they're not trying to rewrite history. Not yet, anyway.

As we reported ... Lauer was abruptly fired Wednesday after a complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior was filed against him.

Katie Couric in 2012 Matt Lauer Pinched Me on the Ass a Lot

11/29/2017 6:33 AM PST

Katie Couric straight-up said Matt Lauer pinched her on the ass a lot during their 9-year run on the "Today" show.

Katie appeared on Andy Cohen's "Watch What Happens Live" back in 2012, and during a segment -- Plead the Fifth -- Andy asked about Matt's most annoying habit.

What's interesting ... Katie's answer came and went ... it was hardly picked up by the media. It's interesting ... NBC said no one has complained until this week, yet their longtime co-anchor talked about ass-pinching in 2012 and NBC apparently didn't bat an eye.

As we reported ... Matt was fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior" in a stunning announcement Wednesday. We're told the investigation has been going on for weeks and the New York Times and other media outlets were working on a story about Lauer.

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