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Matt Lauer has been co-anchor of NBC News’ TODAY since January 6, 1997. He joined TODAY in January 1994 as the show’s news anchor. From September 1992 to September 1996, Lauer was at WNBC in New York City where he served as a co-anchor of the early morning newscast “Today in New York” and as a co-anchor of the early evening newscast “News Channel 4/Live at Five.” He began substituting on TODAY as a news anchor in early 1993 before becoming the permanent news anchor in 1994.
Since joining NBC News, Lauer has conducted a number of remarkable and newsworthy interviews. In November 2010, he sat down with President George W. Bush in his first one-on-one television interview since leaving The Oval Office. The in-depth interview, which was conducted over two days in Midland and Dallas, Texas, made worldwide headlines. Lauer has also sat down with President Barack Obama in several exclusive one-on-one interviews since the November 2008 election. In March 2010, he spoke with the President in his first one-on-one interview after signing the historic health care reform package. In an exclusive headline-making interview in June 2010, Obama told Lauer he wanted to know, “whose ass to kick,” regarding the devastating oil spill in the Gulf. In September 2010, Lauer talked to the President about the state of education in America.
Lauer interviewed President George W. Bush three times while in office, including a pivotal sit-down on the eve of the Republican National Convention August 2004. Lauer also traveled to Alaska to interview then-Gov. Sarah Palin in her first interview after the 2008 election. In April 2009, Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama broke his silence and sat down with Lauer in his first interview after he was held hostage at sea by Somali pirates. After the death of Michael Jackson in June 2009, Lauer went inside Neverland Ranch for a rare, behind-the-scenes look inside the private world of the King of Pop. Lauer also talked with Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales in June 2006, in their first-ever American television interview to commemorate the tenth anniversary of their mother, Princess Diana’s, tragic death.
Other Lauer exclusives include first lady Michelle Obama in her first interview since the State of the Union address in February 2010; former senior advisor to President Bush, Karl Rove; Michael Douglas’ first interview after his son’s prison sentence for drug charges, and later, Douglas’ first television interview since undergoing cancer treatment; and Elizabeth Edwards’ first television interview since separating from her husband, John Edwards.
Lauer has also broadcast several landmark split-editions of TODAY from newsworthy locations. In December 2009 he traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan to take an up-close look at the progress of the war and talk to US soldiers on the ground. In September 2007, Lauer took an in-depth look at Iran, broadcasting live from its capital, Tehran. In June 2007 he traveled to Cuba for a rare opportunity to broadcast live from that country. Lauer also co-anchored TODAY from Iraq in August 2005, hosting the show from Baghdad’s “Camp Liberty” where he interviewed General Richard Myers. In May of 2004 TODAY became the first American television network to broadcast live from the border of North and South Korea with Lauer anchoring from the ground.
During his TODAY tenure, Lauer has conducted numerous news making interviews.
In June 2005, Lauer sat down with Tom Cruise for an interview that garnered a tremendous amount of attention for Cruise’s response to Lauer’s questions about scientology and psychiatry. In November 2002, Lauer sat down with eleven crewmembers from Flight 63, the trans-Atlantic flight that Richard Reid, a.k.a. the “shoebomber,” targeted in December 2001. The interview aired in four parts, on TODAY, and a full-hour on “Dateline NBC.” When Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003, Lauer contributed live reports from Qatar, the region that served as a staging area for American forces in the preparations for war. In April 2000, Lauer marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon with an interview with John McCain, live from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Lauer also sat down exclusively with Amber Frye and Anne Bird who were both involved in the Scott Peterson investigation. In January 1998, he sat down for the first interview with first lady Hillary Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal made headlines. Lauer has also contributed to coverage of live, special events and news stories such as coverage of the past eight Olympic Games, the passing of Pope John Paul II in April 2005, and broadcast network coverage of President Ronald Reagan’s funeral in June of 2004. Lauer will also report for “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”
For what has become one of TODAY’s trademark series, Lauer has broadcast live from remote locations around the world for the Where in the World is Matt Lauer trip. His trips have taken him to 49 different locations, logging nearly 300,000 miles. In the spring of 1998, Lauer reported from the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Grand Canal in Venice, the Parthenon in Athens, the Taj Mahal in India and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. In 1999, his week-long adventure took him to Mount Everest, aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt stationed in the Adriatic Sea, to the Coliseum in Rome and to the Great Wall of China. In 2000 he covered more than 39,000 miles, stopping at the Kilauea volcano in Hilo, Hawaii, Bilbao, Spain, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Pisa and Florence in Italy and Iceland. For the 2001 trip, his stops included Machu Pichu, Peru, an oilrig off the coast of Scotland, Paris, Bangkok and Mykonos, Greece. 2002 found Lauer in Rio, Scotland, an escape in the Amazon, Marrakech/Rose City, the temples of Angkor Wat and jet setting in Monaco. In 2004, he reported from a Mombo Camp in Botswana, on the alps of Zermatt, Switzerland, the Red Square in Moscow, Hong Kong and Necker Island: Sir Richard Branson’s private island. In 2005, he traveled to Easter Island, Panama Canal, the slopes of Innsbruck, Austria, Shanghai, China, and Dubrovnik, Croatia. In 2007, Lauer visited the Boeing Factory in Seattle, Washington, the Cliffs of Moher in Galway, Ireland, Bhutan, Dubai and Capetown and in 2008 he journeyed to Patagonia and Buenos Aires, Argentina, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Laos, Southeast Asia, Istanbul, Turkey and the final stop The Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.
Prior to joining WNBC, Lauer hosted a daily, live, three-hour interview program, “9 Broadcast Plaza,” in New York from 1989 to 1991. Before that, his experience included hosting a number of weekly information and talk programs in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. Lauer began his career in 1979 as a producer of the noon news on WOWK in Huntington, West Virginia. In 1980, he was a reporter on the station’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.
Lauer is a graduate of Ohio University. He lives in New York with his wife, Annette Roque Lauer, their sons, Jack and Thijs, and daughter, Romy.
Follow Matt on Twitter.
Updated June 4, 2013. Originally posted April 14, 2004.