Ryan Seacrest and Matt Lauer had a nice, civil chat Wednesday morning about one of them allegedly being set to take the other's job, and here's a hint: The discussion wasn't about seeing Lauer on the "American Idol" stage.
Despite speculation a hyped "big NBC announcement" from Seacrest might have something to do with the "Today" show, the real news was the less dramatic revelation that the E! fixture and "Idol" star would be joining the peacock network's prime-time Olympics coverage this summer.
(Gosh darn if that one tweet didn't come from the exec producer of both "Today" and NBC's Olympics coverage.)
Lauer and Seacrest did have some fun with the gossip, however, which had dragged out for a day after an injury delayed Seacrest's appearance on the morning show.
Lauer dealt with the buzz directly, asking his guest the question more than once. "What kind of conversations have you had with NBC about joining the 'Today' show? ... What conversations have you had with NBC officials about joining this program? I want names and dates."
Seacrest played along, and eventually the two revealed that they'd had dinner and discussed the situation, but not before going through an exchange reminiscent of "All About Eve," the Bette Davis classic in which the admiring, seemingly naive understudy schemes to rip the established star's life out from under her.
"Do you see yourself doing a job like this?," Lauer asked.
"You know, I don't know," Seacrest said. "I see you doing this for as long as you want to, so maybe the question is, how long will you be on the 'Today' show? ... Because fans, myself included, think you should be here for years to come."
Niiiiiice, Ryan. Smooth.
Lauer followed with more smoothness about how Seacrest would be great in a job like his, how there was no tension between them — and a mention that, for the record, Lauer had paid for dinner.
Zac Efron sat down with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show Thursday, and Lauer, ever the journalist, actually went there. Into the pocket.
Lauer dared to ask about Zac's Infamous Red Carpet Condom — the one the actor allegedly dropped out of his pants pocket in front of the crowds assembled Feb. 19 for the premiere of his upcoming family film, "The Lorax."
"Your name brings a lot of attention to this role and this movie, and there's something else that brought a lot of attention to this movie recently, Zac, at the premiere," Lauer said with a silly smile on his face, a hint of the pockets full of giggles that were soon to come.
"Yeah," a blushing Efron answered reluctantly.
"You want to take me through it?," asked the host.
Umm, not so much, the actor indicated. "I never really had a pocket-checking policy when I was going on the red carpet before," he said, "but now we've fully instated one."
"You dropped a — a condom on the red carpet," Lauer explained haltingly.
"That," said the 24-year-old former Disney kid, "was really hard for you to say!"
And Matt's moral of the story? "Better safe than sorry."
"The Lorax," which costars the voice of Taylor Swift and, like the "Today" interview, is rated PG, opens Friday.
Lindsay Lohan, a veteran of the sometimes bumpy road to redemption, is once again mounting a journey back to sobriety, accountability and perhaps box-office success.
Sitting down with the "Today" show in an interview that will air Thursday, Lohan discusses efforts in motion aimed at helping the industry and the public forgive her for a marathon of bad behavior.
Her first chance: hosting "Saturday Night Live" on March 3, with musical guest Jack White.
"Do you think people have gotten back, or can get back to the point where they trust you?" anchor Matt Lauer asked about folks such as "SNL" honcho Lorne Michaels, who will need Lohan on point for the live show.
"I think that takes time," Lohan said, "and I think that it's actions. Because people can say things all they want, but I think I still need to go through the process of proving myself, you know, with 'SNL,' being on time, being, you know, keeping my -- can't say the word, but -- stuff together."
The second opportunity to turn it around: Being cast as Elizabeth Taylor in the forthcoming Lifetime movie "Liz and Dick," which will focus on Taylor's romance with Richard Burton.
"She's always been a fascinating woman to me. So I'm really honored. And I will not let anyone down, especially myself," she said.
And her third chance? That would be with the law. Lohan is doing well, actually, in clearing up probation debacles from a 2007 DUI and that theft of a necklace last year. Her next hearing is March 29, and if she keeps her community service in order, she could be off the formal-probation hook.
That road to redemption is much sweeter when you're making good time.
Kate Hudson is engaged to Muse singer Matt Bellamy -- and it took a week for anyone to notice!
The star of the upcoming rom-com "Something Borrowed" spilled the beans to Matt Lauer on Wednesday's "Today" show. The host was interviewing her about the film -- co-starring Ginnifer Goodwin, John Krasinski and Colin Egglesfield -- when he noticed the huge rock strategically placed on her hand.
"Could you place your hand in my hand for a second, please? I just want to see something," Lauer said.
Hudson giggled and gave him her hand. A camera close-up revealed a gigantic diamond perched on her ring finger.
"Is this new?" he asked.
"This is new!" Hudson said. "I haven't really announced it, I was waiting for someone to notice."
Apparently Bellamy proposed a week ago. Is it us or has she been flying under the radar? How did the papz miss that?
The actress and the British rocker, both 32, have not yet set a date. But the couple is expecting a baby together. Pregnancy news broke in January, and she is in her third trimester.
Hudson, the daughter of actress Goldie Hawn and musician Bill Hudson, was married to Black Crowes rocker Chris Robinson for nearly six years. They divorced in October 2007 and have a 7-year-old son named Ryder.
Here's hoping this musician is a keeper. Congrats, Kate!
Jon Stewart does an excellent Glenn Beck. The Comedy Central host opened his Thursday show with a melodramatic monologue and later donned the thick-framed glasses and surfaced the chalkboard to impersonate the conservative Fox host who recently announced that he will be leaving his show later this year.
Given Stewart's popular parody of the Beck last year, the follow-up spoof was almost inevitable.
Stewart laid out in "crisp fool-proof detail how Glenn Beck's departure from Fox is incontrovertible truth that the world is ending."
Because earthquakes, sinkholes, tsunamis, falling governments, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira leaving their respective programs might not have been enough of an indication. No, no. Beck is the nail in the coffin, ladies and gentleman. Watch the clip above.
"People will tell you Glenn was fired because of plummeting ratings," Stewart stated hysterically, in character as Beck. "Thirty percent of his viewers have abandoned him, his audience's median age is now dead of natural causes. Do we really want to live in an America where what we watch is determined by a shadowy mix-and-match collective of so-called 'Nielsen families'? You know who else had a family that anyone could join? Charles Manson.
"I don't know about you, ladies and gentlemen, but I don't think I want to live in an America where Charles Manson tells our children what they can watch on television."
And the Beck barrage continued. Before showing clips of various end-of-the-world theories, Stewart gave his snarky explanation for the host's departure.
"So what's really going on here?" Stewart pondered. "What I'm about to say to you is going to sound stupid, illogical, moronic, asinine, disembrained. What I'm about to say to you is the kind of thing that will make you wonder how I even dress myself in the morning: Glenn Beck is leaving Fox because Glenn Beck tells the truth."
What do you think of Stewart's Beck impersonation -- spot on, or over the top?
Elton John and Billy Joel have been publicly sparring since John gave Joel some "tough love" in a Rolling Stone article, deriding him for giving creativity a backseat to alcoholism, but Friday the two musicians seemed to reach some sort of truce.
John spoke out to the magazine out of frustration over the years, saying the musical pair have had to cancel tour dates because of illness and alcoholism on Joel's part. The bespectacled British musician practically scolded Joel in print, saying that going to "rehab light" wasn't the same as traditional rehab. John, who also had his run with drugs and alcohol, said he got clean because he went to programs that required him to clean floors, not watch TV.
"At the end of the day, he's coasting," John said. "I always say, 'Billy, can't you write another song?' It's either fear or laziness. It upsets me. Billy's a conundrum... I love you, Billy, and this is tough love. Billy, you have your demons and you're not going to get rid of them at rehab light. You've got to be serious. People adore you, they love you and respect you. You should be able to do something better than what you're doing now."
John said he got an angry private message from Joel, who also responded publicly last week saying, "I've worked with Elton for such a long time and I've enjoyed our relationship too much to let something as random as these comments change my affection for him. Elton is just being Elton."
But the latest twist came today, when Joel talked back -- again. This time he was responding to John's interview with Matt Lauer on Thursday. Lauer brought up the subject when John was promoting "Gnomeo and Juliet," the film he produced and provided music for.
"I'm only trying to help," John said on Today. "Maybe I should have done it privately, but I’ve been so frustrated over the years."
"He's going to hate me. It comes from a place of love, and it's tough love. You don't take a dog to rehab," the 63-year-old added. "I'm saying it because I really want Billy to live a long life and be happy, and that's where it came from. I understand if he's pissed with me, and I can take that on the chin.... He may want to punch my face in at the moment, but it's OK."
So on Friday, through his publicist, Joel provided this enumerated response:
1. I do not hate Elton John. 2. I do not want to "punch him in the face." 3. If he wants to call me, my number is still the same. 4. Good luck with the movie. -- BILLY JOEL
Michael Douglas thinks he has beaten throat cancer, and would like folks to know he's been "eating like a pig" to boot.
"The odds are, with the tumor gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer, that I've got it beat," the actor said Monday in an interview with Matt Lauer that will air Tuesday on "Today."
Douglas is back in the gym but keeping the cardio to a minimum, he told Lauer. Because he lost 32 pounds during chemo and radiation treatment, his doctors want him to gain back more than the 12 pounds he's packed back on so far.
The Oscar winner went public with his cancer diagnosis in August, about a month before his film "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" opened in theaters. He finished treatment in October, and has been recovering since then.
And how has the scare affected him? Among other things, he said, "All of a sudden the affection from my family, from my friends, and from my fans hit me at a much deeper level than I would have ever imagined before."
Douglas still has to have monthly checkups to make sure the cancer stays gone, he said. The full interview will air Sunday on "Dateline NBC."
It's really hard to believe that just 72 hours ago, Ted Williams, the self-titled "man with the golden voice," was panhandling on the streets of Columbus, Ohio.
Now he's sitting on the "Today" couch with Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira and fielding job offers from the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. All because of a video shot by a Columbus Dispatch reporter and posted to the newspaper's website Monday.
Right now, Williams is in the midst of one of those crazy media storms that can overwhelm a person's life. While Williams was talking to Lauer and Vieira on NBC, his 90-year-old estranged mother was giving an interview on CBS' "Early Show."
Kanye West has canceled a "Today" performance that had been announced by Matt Lauer on the show Thursday, the network learned officially Friday. West had been scheduled to play live outside the studio in New York the day after Thanksgiving.
Lauer interviewed West on Wednesday for a piece to air Thursday. The rapper, upset by video clips played during their sit-down, fired off a series of messages on Twitter afterward, accusing the show of being "brutal" and trying to set him up and force his answers. Among those messages was one saying, "I don't mess with Matt Lauer or the Today Show," which apparently meant he was not coming back for the live gig.
Now in Abu Dhabi, he sent further messages out early Friday, referring to behind-the-scenes footage aired Thursday on "Today," including an explanation of how Lauer's announcement that the rapper would perform on the show later in the month made West look like the villain:
I blatantly said I'm not performing on a tweet and to everyone around me and the next day they still announced a performance. Do you guys see what I'm saying now, this is just a small slice of the day to day [stuff] that goes on that helps to precipitate the idea that I such an [idiot] cause when I don't perform oh noooow I'm the one that's crazy or a jerk! If I hadn't tweeted about how they set me up at the show they would have never played the extra footage that displayed how disrespectful.... I want you guys to look at that footage and start to put everything together now.
Not that he is framing Lauer as the villain, right? "All positive energy ... all smiles," he tweeted. "Much love to Matt and the whole Today Show. I accept ya'll future apology in advance LOL!"
Adjusting one's internal clock to a new time zone takes about one day for each hour, experts say, so in theory we all should have recovered from Sunday's switch to standard time by about, say, Tuesday.
But if Matt Lauer's "Today" interview with Kanye West, and West's reaction to the interview, and Lauer's reaction to West's reaction are any indication of how "adjusted" we all are so far, let's boost that revovery time to at least a week, shall we?
West -- who's been moving in and around former President Bush as the performer promotes his new album, 'W' promotes his memoir and that Hurricane Katrina comment gets shoved back in the spotlight -- appeared to choose his words carefully and take the "Today" interview seriously. He was also upset by videos played while he answered questions on Wednesday, snapped mildly in the studio and then sent off a series of Twitter messages critical of his experience on the show.
Before saying Lauer tried to force his answers in a "brutal" way, West wrote, "I don't mess with Matt Lauer or the Today Show ... and that's a very nice way for me to put it!" The series of Wednesday tweets was still visible @kanyewest Thursday to those who weren't logged in on Twitter.
During the interview, Lauer summed up -- some might say undercut? -- West's lengthy, nuanced discussion of motivations and consequences as, "We're human, we make mistakes, but we have to learn from our mistakes."
After Part 1 of the piece aired Thursday, Lauer referred to West's tweets, giving a somewhat miffed addendum that the show hadn't done anything out of the ordinary by running video during the interview. Addressing criticism from one of West's nine "Today"-related tweets, Lauer aired teaser footage showing the rapper reacting as "Today" played footage of him and Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards, framing that moment as the core of Kanye's criticism.
All we can say is, touchy, touchy, touchy, ladies.
Since we were gifted with that extra hour earlier this week, let's take a few minutes to review what West said when asked what he would say to Bush if the two agreed to meet. (Oh yeah, that question was asked after the host prompted West to watch footage from Lauer's Bush interview with the sound off, specifically so West could experience the look on the ex-president's face.)
"I would tell Bush, in my moment of frustration, that I didn't have the grounds to call him a racist," West said.
"And you're sorry -- ," Lauer prompted.
"Yeah, I'm sorry for -- ," West said, then stopped to think.
"I think I get the point," Lauer said.
But Kanye actually hadn't yet made his point.
"I want to give it the exact perfect wording, because everything I say gets taken and drawn into headlines, and I'm here to man up to different mistakes I made, and speak to the moment when I pegged George Bush as a racist," West said.
"I came here to say that I made mistakes, that I've grown as a person, and it's not as easy as boxing someone into a villain role or into a race role. I did not have the information, enough information in that situation, to call him a racist. That might have been the emotions I felt, but me being a rational, well-thought-out, empathetic human being and thinking about it after the fact, I would have chosen different words.
"Even in these times when I was considered to have done something so wrong, my motivation was from a good place. Maybe mistimed, maybe not the right wording, not using or realizing the power of my words and the way they would stop the Internet. But nonetheless, that it's very pure and from a good place."
So there you have it, West's words as full as NBC presented them, not simply drawn up into a headline. Lauer also rolled video in another interview with Bush, setting up the ex-pres to react to the first part of West's "moment of frustration" comments that aired Thursday.
"I appreciate that," Bush said.
Thoughts on the interview? The last time we checked, "We do it all the time" didn't necessarily mean "it" was right. Watch the video, vote in the poll, and tell us more in comments.