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December 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

An internal battle is taking place at NBC News over persistent rumors that the network intends to name American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest the new host of the Today show if, as seems fairly certain, Matt Lauer leaves the morning show late next year, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Wednesday), citing unnamed sources. According to the newspaper, Seacrest is the first choice of NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert, a choice that pits him against what one NBC executive called the “old guard” who remember when Today “set the news agenda.” The executive said that an “inner-office battle” is being waged “about what the Today show is going to be next.” Dan Wilch, who follows daytime TV for Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Frank Magid Associates, said in an email to the Times: “The key in the morning is range — and we have yet to see whether Ryan has that, but his success in everything he has ever done suggests he’s a good gamble.” But Richard Lawson wrote in the Atlantic Wire, “Lauer was live on air for a long time the morning of 9/11 and handled it as best as a jarred morning show host could. Can anyone really imagine Ryan Seacrest doing the same thing?” (Time magazine revealed on today’s edition of Today that “The Protester” had been chosen as this year’s “Person of the Year,” raising the question of whether Seacrest could have handled such a subject.)