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Nancy Snyderman

I'm Sorry for Breaking Ebola Quarantine ... BUT

12/3/2014 5:39 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

120314_nancy_snyderman_launch_v3Dr. Nancy Snyderman once again tried apologizing for breaking her Ebola quarantine ... but again, there were asterisks and excuses.

Snyderman sat down Wednesday morning with Matt Lauer and in her own way tried apologizing for breaking her Ebola quarantine.

She said she was sorry, but then made excuses ... she and her crew had taken their temps for days and they were fine ... somehow justifying her decision to break the quarantine for a restaurant run.

She said she was sorry for "adding to the confusion" about Ebola ... though we're pretty sure Nancy is the only person confused about the meaning of the word "quarantine."

This is probably as good as it's gonna get.

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Matt Lauer

Janay Rice Interview 'Was Fantastic'

11/13/2014 9:12 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

111314_matt_lauer_launchMatt Lauer says his sitdown with Ray Rice's wife was "great" -- but it's clear he doesn't want to give too much away ... because he just bobbed and weaved like Muhammad Ali! 

Matt was heading over to 30 Rock in NYC this morning when he acknowledged the interview was in the can.

But watch the deflection technique ... Matt knows the golden rule when it comes to promoting a big interview -- no one's gonna buy the cow if he gives away the milk for free.

Ray Rice's Wife

Lights. Camera. Lauer.

11/13/2014 4:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1113-ray-rice-wife-nbc-interview-instagramRay Rice's wife Janay is ready for her close-up ... meeting up with beauty specialists before her big "Today" show interview with Matt Lauer

With cameras setup in her Maryland home, Janay Palmer -- the woman Ray KO'd in the elevator back in February -- invited over a local company that specializes in photo shoots to gussy her up.

The company is called Franchon Parlour -- and it does everything from wardrobe selection to hair extensions. 

It's clear that Janay and Ray want it to look like the interview is all about Janay -- but our NBC sources tell us Ray is the main reason they want this interview. And, our sources say Ray WILL be participating in some way even though his people say he is not yet committed.

We're told Ray was at the home when Janay went on camera.

Matt Lauer

I'm Not Saying

There's a Ray Rice Interview, But ...

11/12/2014 10:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Matt Lauer Ray Rice InterviewMatt Lauer had every opportunity to say he does not have an interview lined up with disgraced NFL star Ray Rice, but he didn't.

As TMZ Sports first reported ... NBC sources told us Lauer snagged an interview with Rice and wife Janay.  Our Rice sources say nothing is set in stone for him ... that "Today" is more interested in Janay, but our NBC sources say that's not true -- Rice is the prize.

So when our photog spotted Lauer in NYC Wednesday morning and mentioned the Ray interview, Lauer said repeatedly no "announcement" had been made. Interesting.

BTW ... how cool is Matt?

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Ray Rice

Breaking Silence to Matt Lauer

On 'Today' Show Sit-Down

11/11/2014 11:36 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Matt Lauer has won the war for Ray Rice -- booking the disgraced NFL star to appear on the "Today" show for an exclusive sit-down interview during sweeps ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

It's unclear if Ray's wife Janay Rice will participate in the interview. 

We're told the interview is expected to air sometime between now and Nov. 26th. 

It's a huge score for NBC ... especially since Rice and Janay have been radio silent with the media ever since we published the elevator footage showing Ray KOing Janay in an Atlantic City casino. 

update_graphic_red_barA source connected with Rice just contacted us and said Rice has made no commitment to sit-down with "Today" and will not do anything until after the arbitration decision on his suspension is made. The source says "Today" was really only interested in Janay, not Ray. Our NBC sources dispute that and say Rice is the prize. The Rice source says they will consider the interview but only after arbitration.

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Matt Lauer

Hunt Is On

For 1st Ray Rice Interview

9/11/2014 6:16 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Matt Lauer knows ... the first morning show to interview Ray Rice WINS -- and that's why the "Today" show ... and everyone else in morning TV is officially in on the chase to lock down the NFL star. 

Matt played coy when we asked if he had already reached out to Rice -- but the answer was written all over his face.

He also explained, "Ray Rice has a story to tell that he wants to get out there." It's clear, Lauer wants to be the one to help him tell that story.

"I think anybody who does what I do for a living would wanna sit down with either of them [Ray and Roger Goodell] and Janay as well." 

Ray has texted back and forth with some ESPN reporters over the past few days -- but it's unclear if he's committed to an on-camera interview ... yet. 

Stay tuned.

Matt Lauer

Flood Watch for Savannah's Uterus

7/16/2014 12:02 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
TMZ TV

071514_matt_lauer_launch_v3'Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie took her fetus for a walk with Matt Lauer -- and with her enormous belly growing by the minute, we had to ask if the forecast called for … water breaking on live TV.

Guess what -- Lauer's kinda likes the sound o' that. Ratings, baby!
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Dave Chappelle

'Crashes' 'Today' Show

6/17/2014 6:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

Dave Chappelle Today ShowDave Chappelle was banging on the window at the "Today" show this morning -- but the stunt was just as transparent as the glass.

Matt Lauer feigned surprise when he just happened to notice the comedian hyping his show from outside.

Lauer took a break so he could walk outside and interview Chappelle about his upcoming shows at Radio City Music Hall ... and it was just plain weird.  Lauer happened to know the first 5 shows sold out immediately, so Dave is there trying to sell tickets to 4 additional shows.

The way to sell ... be funny.  And it really wasn't. 

Maybe Dave isn't a morning guy.

Matt Lauer

Here 'Today'

Here Tomorrow

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.

Katie Couric

NBC Mulling over

Return to 'Today'

5/5/2014 4:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

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Execs at "Today" are talking about filling a pregnant pause -- with Katie Couric ... TMZ has confirmed.

Co-host Savannah Guthrie is 5 months pregnant and headed for maternity leave ...  we're told NBC honchos are seriously considering bringing Katie back while Savannah is on maternity leave.

The reasons -- Katie is still hugely identified with the "Today" brand, she gets along great with Matt Lauer and she's friends with Savannah.

The NY Post reported and we've confirmed ... it's just in the talking stages, but we're hearing it's being seriously considered. 

As for Katie, sources say her exclusive deal with ABC is up mid-summer, so the timing would work out.

One final thing ... the execs are saying Katie makes sense  because she's not a "threat" to Savannah.  Hmmmm.

Joan Rivers

The 2 Chicks Held Hostage in Ohio Should Lighten Up

4/23/2014 2:54 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Joan Rivers
is scoffing at the 2 women who were held hostage in a Cleveland, Ohio basement  ... telling TMZ they shouldn't complain -- "They got to live rent free for more than a decade."

The women are pissed at Joan's comments on the "Today" show this week ... when she talked about her daughter's guest room, saying "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space."

The women -- Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus -- came out swinging, saying they were shocked and disappointed at the "hurtful" comment.

Joan tells us she WON'T apologize, telling them to lighten up, adding,  "One of them has a book deal.  Neither are in a psych ward.  They're ok.  I bet you within 3 years one of them will be on Dancing with the Stars."

And Joan says, plenty of comedians have done schtick about tragic events like Hitler's terror and the sinking of the Titanic.  Joan says, "The TV the guy gave them must not have had SNL."

Josh Elliott

I Wanted Out of "GMA" So Bad

I Took a Pay Cut!

4/1/2014 6:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Josh Elliott Leaving GMA

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.

'Today' Show Stunt

Al Roker Faux Filthy Rant on Billy Bush

3/21/2014 10:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

032114_al_roker_launch_v3The "Today" show has an interesting new strategy for regaining its king-of-the-morning title ... do a phony, f***-laced meltdown with  Al Roker ... but the show needs some pointers ... which TMZ will gladly offer.

We just got this video of Al going off on Billy Bush, who was interviewing Johnny Weir during the Sochi Olympics.  The clip has a whispery set-up, where Al seems to be schooling Billy who just doesn't know his place on the broadcasting food chain.

And then Al rants ... and it's dirty. And NBC clearly wanted us and everyone else to run it ... which we will gladly do. 

Advice to NBC:  Lose the crew from the shot.  The camera guy can barely focus he's laughing so hard.  Also, use a lavalier mic (clip-on), rather than a boom.  The boom is in Al's face so there's no way anyone would believe it's authentic.  And, get Al an acting lesson or 2.  The overacting is felonious.

Nonetheless .... it's an interesting new strategy.  We'll see if foul-mouth stunts actually work.

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