LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Ratings for NBC’s “Today” show rose last week after the network announced it had fired longtime co-host Matt Lauer following an allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior, according to Nielsen data released on Tuesday.
The show on Comcast Corp’s NBC pulled in an average of 4.9 million viewers for the week, well above its typical audience of 4.1 million, and beat rival “Good Morning America” on Walt Disney Co’s ABC network. “GMA” attracted an audience of 4.4 million.
“Today” co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced Lauer’s firing during the “Today” broadcast on Wednesday.
Lauer was let go after a female colleague complained to NBC officials about a pattern of inappropriate sexual behavior that began while they were on assignment at the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics in Russia, according to NBC statements on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Guthrie read a statement from Lauer on the air in which he apologized for “troubling flaws.” The “Today” show also reported on Thursday that at least two more women have gone to NBC with similar complaints against Lauer.
Lauer said in his statement that some of the accusations against him were “untrue or mischaracterized,” without explaining further, but said that “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
Reuters could not independently confirm the allegations and no further comment was available from Lauer’s representatives.
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Alden Bentley