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NBC executive: “Matt Lauer is the best in the business”

NBC is attempting to squelch rumors that Anderson Cooper could replace Matt Lauer as co-anchor of the "Today" show.

Lauer has been intensely criticized since July, when he was blamed by media insiders for the firing of Ann Curry, a move that led to a drop in ratings and eventual rumor that he's being ousted by the network.

NBC News executive Alex Wallace told the AP, "Matt Lauer is the best in the business," adding, "we want him in the `Today' show anchor chair for many years to come."

Another NBC executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that "NBC News has many exploratory talks with talent inside and outside of the network, but to read anything specific into that is presumptuous."

Lauer's time could be up soon, regardless, as his contract ends in 2014. So where does this leave Lauer? "Trapped in a vortex of bad vibes with no escape in sight," according to the AP.

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