Former co-host of Richmond TV show: Matt Lauer was ‘only a gentleman’


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Before becoming one of the most recognizable personalities on television, Matt Lauer was once the face of a local news and entertainment show in Richmond, Virginia.

Lauer, the former renown co-host of NBC’s ‘Today’ show, was fired by the network after an employee filed a complaint alleging “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” He became the second morning television show personality to be terminated from a national network in a week because of alleged sexual misconduct.

Lauer, 59, came to Richmond in 1980 after working as a general assignment reporter for WOWK-TV in Huntington, West Virginia. He served as Deborah Kent’s sidekick on ‘PM Magazine,’ which aired each weeknight on Channel 8/WXEX, now known as WRIC.

This photo, courtesy the Richmond Times-Dispatch, shows early 1980s PM/Evening Magazine co-hosts Denise Kranich (left) and Matt Lauer (right).

PM Magazine was a syndicated news and entertainment show that aired from the late 1970s to late 1980s. The platform served as a career launchpad for many young aspiring talents beyond Lauer, including Tom Bergeron, Leeza Gibbons and Dennis Miller.

Lauer also co-hosted the weeknight program alongside Denise Kranich, who, in an interview with 8News, said Lauer was always a “gentleman.”

“Everything needs to come forward,” Kranich said. “The women or woman needs to come forward and it needs to be investigated and, of course, he needs to say something and make a comment.

Kranich said her relationship with Lauer as a co-host eventually evolved into a friendship that still exists today.

She said she’s heartbroken by the allegations.

“I’ve known Matt for many, many, many, years and it’s very, very sad news, but of course I think it’s important to investigate everything.”

“I’ve known Matt for many, many, many, years and it’s very, very sad news, but of course I think it’s important to investigate everything.”

Kranich recalled attending Lauer’s wedding and taking her daughter to visit him on the ‘Today’ show set years ago.

“I’ve always thought that Matt did a very, very good job on the Today Show,” she said. He was always my favorite co-host to work with because he was always very good at what he did. He’s very good on live television. So I was very, very proud of him.”

Lauer had hosted “Today” for two decades. When paired with Katie Couric, “Today” was the longtime ratings leader and was highly lucrative for NBC. It now runs second in the ratings to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

He joins a lengthening list of media figures felled by sexual misconduct charges this year, including Charlie Rose, who was fired last week after complaints from several women who worked for him.

Besides Rose, they include Lauer’s former NBC News colleague Mark Halperin, former Fox News prime-time host Bill O’Reilly and National Public Radio newsroom chief Michael Oreskes. The New York Times suspended White House correspondent Glenn Thrush last week.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. 

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