Showbiz Spy reports: Producers believe that finding a “bromance” partner will help the ailing show and are hoping to replicate the chemistry between Lauer, 54, and his best friend Bryant Gumbel, who left the show in January 1997.
“If you look at Josh Elliott and Sam Champion on Good Morning America, they are really great friends and that shines through on air – not since Matt and Bryant have we seen chemistry like this on morning TV,” a source said.
“Matt is on a huge deal, he’s hugely important to NBC — he’s not going anywhere.
“Of course, there are huge issues at TODAY and the big problem will be when the affiliates who pay all the money to air TODAY start complaining about ratings — they’re never afraid to call a spade a spade.
“Every ratings point is worth millions in advertising revenue and TODAY knows it’s not going to win its spot back overnight.
“We’re waiting to see if Don Nash can do something bold. The consensus in the corridors at NBC is that TODAY desperately needs the right team. They need chemistry and the anchors need people to play with.
“Viewers like to see the presenters connecting, it’s all about connectibility and there’s no one for Matt to banter with.
“And when push comes to shove, viewers know nothing about Matt. Savannah Guthrie is super smart, but again, viewers know nothing about her.
“On GMA, people know that Sam’s getting married, Josh talks all the time about his daughter, they’re going through Robin Roberts‘ illness with her and Lara just doesn’t stop talking!
“In effect, TODAY needs to find its ‘secret sauce.’”