When Lauer's former co-host Katie Couric appeared on Stern's radio show, she revealed that she had a "little crush" on Lauer when he served as the program's newsreader. Lauer and Couric co-hosted "Today" from 1994-2006, a time when the NBC show was the number one program in morning television. It was a position the show held for 16 years.
When Stern brought up Couric's past remark, Lauer said that he thought every man in the country had a crush on her at one point or another. "She's a very attractive woman, not only physically, but her personality," Lauer said. "If she's a 9 or 10 physically, she's a 14 because—I hate to do that—because she's got a great personality. She's fun."
Stern also asked Lauer about his reading habits. The "Today" co-host said he reads newspapers in the morning on his way to work—usually the New York Times and one of the famed New York tabloids. Lauer seemed to have some lukewarm feelings for the Times, which he said were due in part to the paper's coverage of the "Today" show.
Since co-host Ann Curry was abruptly fired from her role on "Today" about one year ago, Lauer has been a more regular presence in gossip columns and the subject of some tough news reports. Some viewers said they blamed him for Curry's departure, while others pointed to him as the reason the show's ratings were declining. An in-depth New York magazine article about the anchor shake-up, as well as a behind-the-scenes book about morning television written by Times media reporter Brian Stelter also contributed to Lauer's tough time in the press.
"Well, you know what, I think it’s still a great newspaper," Lauer told Stern. "I think that in my personal opinion, we always deal with these things based on how they have treated you personally, and I think there has been a little erosion in some areas as of late. Overall are they still a great newspaper, as is the Wall Street Journal, which I also read in the morning."
Lauer added that it wasn't just how the paper treated him personally, "but the show, the industry, the way they cover television." He said, "If I think it’s unfair, if I think at times it’s been a little lazy, then it absolutely affects my opinion."