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Report: Matt Lauer Nearly Left NBC for ABC

Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- How close was Matt Lauer to leaving NBC's Today show last year?  Pretty darn close, according to a new report.

In its profile of Lauer earlier this month, The Daily Beast noted that a few years ago he and his former Today colleague Katie Couric pitched to NBC a syndicated talk show that they'd launch together.

Now, New York magazine says Lauer brought that idea to ABC last year.  He reportedly engaged in serious talks with the network before ultimately choosing to negotiate a new contract with NBC.  He reportedly signed a two-year contract worth $25 million per year, while Couric launched her ABC-distributed program Katie in September 2012.

According to New York magazine, Lauer entertained the notion of leaving NBC after he learned that the network was considering replacing him with Ryan Seacrest.  An NBC executive told Lauer that it was interested in Seacrest only if he left.

Seacrest has served as a contributor to the Today show.

The article also details Ann Curry's awkward firing from the Today show last year.  One unnamed NBC employee says, “Everybody at NBC, everybody at the Today show, everybody understood that Ann was kicked out of her position because Matt didn’t want her there."

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