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Comments: Week of April 8, 2013

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1.New York Magazine posted its ­cover-story exposé about NBC’s ­Today show Sunday night and boy is it a doozy,” wrote Tierney Sneed on U.S. News and World Report’s website about Joe Hagan’s chronicle of the long decline of NBC’s once all-powerful Today show (Long Night at Today,” April 1). Most readers found the portrait that emerged of the anchor damning—and sympathized with recent co-host Ann Curry, who never managed to build a rapport with Lauer and whose firing last fall punctuated the show’s ratings decline. “If this is one of the first steps in rehabbing ‘Today’ show star Matt Lauer’s image, he’s in for a long, tough road ahead,” wrote Eric Deggans at Poynter. (Judging by rumors last week that NBC was trying to replace Lauer with Anderson Cooper, Deggans was probably right.) “Matt ­Lauer’s day in the sun is ­officially over,” wrote Chris O’Shea at Fishbowl NY. “For a while now, people have suspected Lauer was the reason that Ann Curry was fired, and this piece does nothing but fan those flames. The Lauer hating is officially in overdrive. Lauer knew Curry was getting fired and despite probably being able to save her, he didn’t. Like New York explains, that doesn’t make him a ‘horrible person,’ but it certainly won’t gain him any fans.” O’Shea took particular pleasure in noting a ­media-gossip nugget buried in the piece, about New York Times television reporter Brian Stelter. “Lauer doesn’t like Brian Stelter. This is a huge no-no in New York media. Everyone likes Stelter. What’s not to like? He’s referred to as Lauer’s ­‘nemesis.’ This automatically makes him our nemesis, so we’ll see you by the ­willow tree, Lauer. Three o’clock sharp. Be ready to rumble, fancy news boy.” Others wondered whether the whole story was the result of a coordinated publicity campaign. “Have you noticed how many ‘hit pieces’ there are on NBC’s Matt Lauer today?” asked Greta Van Susteren on her GretaWire blog. “It looks like an orchestrated attack on him.” Some commenters at nymag.com, many of them apparently regular viewers of the show, were more sympathetic to Lauer than the media-critic readers—and much harsher about Curry. “It’s hard to fathom how Lauer became the villain,” wrote one. “Curry, on the other hand, behaved like a self-­centered baby. Boo hoo! She pouted after she was given $12 million and a new role! When you play in the big leagues, there are sometimes tough calls that you have to accept. Lauer is the best at what he does.” Wrote another: “Though Curry is very likable, smart, and seemingly sweet, by almost all accounts she was just not good at the job. As a (very) longtime Today show viewer, I found her incredibly difficult to watch. Considering everyone involved in the decision sounds like they had major doubts, the biggest mistake in the situation wasn’t firing Curry—it was hiring her in the first place … If she wasn’t good at the job (and she wasn’t), why is Lauer expected to go to bat for her and beg the network to keep her as part of his own contract negotiations? Whatever ­happened to ‘It’s not show friends, it’s show business’?” And a third, even less equivocal: “She was horrible!! She never knew what to say, she couldn’t shoot from the hip, and she was always bumbling her interviews! Please people, if Matt Lauer had something to do with her firing, he should get a raise.”


2. “Since its 2011 debut, Game of Thrones has been attacked for ‘gratuitous’ nudity and labeled sexist for stripping its women more often than its men,” Matt Zoller Seitz wrote in “a plea for more male nudity” ahead of the show’s season premiere (The Five: Game of Thrones,” April 1). “I’d like Game of Thrones to enlarge the scope of its fantasy—to show more same-sex couplings and male nudity—as Starz’s Spartacus series has done with such panache,” he wrote. “As long as this plea includes Jon Snow, I’m right there with you,” wrote one commenter. But most were less gung ho. “I’d rather see less nudity all the way around, and a lot more story,” wrote another. “Winter’s coming and it’s already damned cold in Westeros.” A third: “HBO probably figures that because of Oz they’re still running a dick surplus after all these years.” And some readers defended the show’s nudity numbers. “George R. R. Martin wasn’t writing a book about a world where women are treated as equals. He wrote about women not being treated as equals and yet surviving and even excelling in that world.” Wrote another: “On a day that the Supreme Court begins ­hearings on marriage equality, you’re whining about there not being enough dongs on a fairly mainstream show. Just be cool and appreciate good television.”

3. This week, New York launches a new iPad app—an integrated way to read our daily web content and the print magazine at once. Every week, the app will also feature a number of added multimedia enhancements—more photography, audio and video, and written content we loved but couldn’t squeeze into the magazine itself. Special for this issue, on childhood in the city: a video tour of New York as seen from three feet high; audio reminiscences from Mel Brooks and Mario Cuomo, among others; and a whole bunch more of Eloise’s adventures in Brooklyn.

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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