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Matt Lauer extends contract with 'Today'

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Today may be struggling to regain its stronghold on the morning audience, but apparently NBC still believes that Matt Lauer is the one who can help it return to the winner’s circle: The New York Times is reporting that NBC has extended the veteran newsman’s contract by a number of years.

Speculation had been rampant that Lauer would hit the road once his current deal expires in the next few months — especially given both the ribbing he took during Ann Curry’s much-publicized departure as his co-anchor and Good Morning America’s meteoric rise to No. 1. Nevertheless, NBC extended Lauer’s contract by more than two years, the NYT says.

GMA remains the most-watched morning news program, though Today has been closing the gap of late.

“I consider this the best job in broadcasting,” Lauer said in a statement. “I love people I work with every day and I have such respect and gratitude for the people I work for. I couldn’t be happier to be staying.”

Lauer began at Today in 1997 and holds the record as the longest-sitting Today anchor.