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NBC Denies It Wants to Replace Matt Lauer with Anderson Cooper

Gregg DeGuire/PictureGroup(NEW YORK) -- Matt Lauer's relationship with NBC and the Today show is becoming more complicated by the day.  The network has struck down yet another rumor that Lauer's run on its flagship morning program is slowly coming to an end. has reported that NBC executives contacted Anderson Cooper to gauge his interest in replacing Lauer on the Today show by the end of the year.  Reportedly, Lauer objected to the idea and stated as much to Cooper himself in a phone call. is also reporting that NBC reached out to Cooper, but the website denies that Lauer disapproved.  TMZ says Lauer wanted to discuss the proposal with Cooper in person, but postponed their meeting in light of the recently-released New York magazine article that detailed the Today show's declining ratings and Ann Curry's firing from her co-host position last year.

NBC continues to maintain that it will not replace Lauer.

NBC News Senior Vice President Alexandra Wallace tells The Hollywood Reporter in a statement, "As we’ve said before, Matt Lauer is the best in the business.  We want him in the Today show anchor chair for many years to come."

The publication also quotes an NBC executive as saying that the network has had "exploratory talks with talent inside and outside of the network.  But to read anything specific into that is presumptuous."

The Hollywood Reporter further reports that Cooper isn't enthusiastic about taking on an early-morning job.  He currently hosts a primetime program for CNN, as well as a syndicated daytime talk show that will end after its current season.

Lauer's contract reportedly will expire at the end of 2014.  He's co-hosted the Today show since 1997.

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