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Anderson Cooper Replacing Lauer on TODAY?

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Related: TODAY, NBC reports that CNN newsman Anderson Cooper may be next in line to take over the anchor desk on NBC's struggling morning show, TODAY.

According to the report, NBC executives are hoping to make the transition by the end of the year and are even asking Lauer to give his blessing to their choice of Cooper. Long-time anchor Lauer's $25 million contract will expire in 2014. As BWW previously reported, he is currently under consideration to become the next host of Jeopardy! once Alex Trebek retires in 2016.

Lauer has been receiving much negative criticism lately and has taken on the brunt of responsibity for the high-profile firing of Ann Curry from the morning show.

Cooper is the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City studio; however, Cooper often broadcasts live on location for breaking news stories. In September 2011, he debuted his own eponymous Syndicated daytime talk show, Anderson Live, which was cancelled at the end of the second season.

UPDATE (10:30 am/ET): The Hollywood Reporter now reports that NBC executives and sources close to Anderson Cooper are denying the news of an upcoming anchor transition. According to an NBC executive, the network has "exploratory talks with talent inside and outside of the network. But to read anything specific into that is presumptuous." And in a statement, NBC News senior vp Alexandra Wallace told THR, "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."

In addition, sources close to Cooper maintain that he is "not interested in trading globetrotting for 4 a.m. wake up calls."

Photo: RD/ Kabik/ Retna Digital

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