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Matt Lauer signs on for more 'Today' through 2018

Matt Lauer signs on for more 'Today' through 2018
Negotiating a $20-million-a-year contract, Matt Lauer extends his deal with "Today" through 2018. (Getty Images)

Matt Lauer has quietly signed on for two more years as co-anchor on NBC's "Today."

Citing unnamed sources, the New York Post said late Tuesday that Lauer agreed to extend his commitment to the morning program through 2018. An NBC News representative is not officially commenting on the report. But a person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to comment said Lauer’s latest contract signing is not recent.

Lauer, 58, has been at the helm of "Today" since 1997. He joined  the program as a news reader in 1994. There had been no talk of him leaving "Today," which generates around $500 million a year in revenue for NBC.

Lauer, who co-anchors the 7-9 a.m. hours of “Today" with Savannah Guthrie, has long been seen as critical to NBC’s success with the morning audience. While ABC's “Good Morning America” has the most viewers overall, “Today” is the top-rated program among viewers ages 25 to 54, the group that advertisers seek most when they buy commercials on news programming.

The Post said Lauer is earning $20 million a year in the new deal. While NBC has never confirmed a number, various reports have put Lauer's annual salary at between $20 million and $25 million over the last decade.

Lauer was subjected to harsh criticism from pundits and political partisans earlier this year for his performance as moderator in NBC's presidential candidate forum after he failed to press President-elect Donald Trump on his insistence that he had been opposed to the Iraq war. Lauer also received blowback for interrupting Hillary Clinton, who attempted to provide longer and more detailed answers during her portion of the forum.

But the controversy over Lauer's performance never affected his standing with morning TV viewers as "Today" ratings remained steady in the aftermath.

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Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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