Matt Lauer's Replacement Chosen? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Matt Lauer's Replacement Chosen?

AOLTV.COM - It's been reported that Ryan Seacrest is in talks to replace 'Today' anchor Matt Lauer if he steps down from the NBC morning show next year. 'The Wall Street Journal' first reported that Seacrest met network executives for preliminary talks earlier this week to discuss him joining the show.

That report has since been confirmed by 'The Hollywood Reporter,' which spoke to multiple sources who said that the meeting did indeed take place, but that it was part of ongoing discussions with Seacrest.

Executives who reportedly attended the meeting included 'Today' executive producer Jim Bell, NBC News President Steve Capus and senior vice president for marketing and communications Lauren Kapp.

Lauer's been in the 'Today' anchor seat for 13 years, and although his contract's not up for renewal until the end of 2012, there has been speculation all year as to whether he'll extend or quit. His co-anchor Meredith Vieira recently stepped down when her contract expired, and Ann Curry took over.

Although Lauer said back in May that he has no plans to leave NBC -- "I have a long-term deal with NBC. ... I'm gonna be here for a while" -- there have been reports that he may reunite with his former 'Today' co-host Katie Couric when her syndicated ABC talk show launches. 'Katie' is slated to premiere in fall 2012, airing in the spot currently occupied by veteran daytime soap, 'General Hospital.'

Seacrest's name has previously been linked to the search for Regis Philbin's replacement on 'Live!,' but can the 'American Idol' host juggle yet another high-profile TV gig with his commitments on 'Idol,' 'E! News,' his production company and his radio show?

His contract with E! and his overall deal with its parent company NBCUniversal expires early next year, so perhaps now is the time for Seacrest to realign his burgeoning media empire and change his personal working schedule. NBCU is said to be keen to hang onto such a valuable property, and its cable entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer told 'THR' "Ryan is extremely talented and we look forward to working with him for years to come."

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