Matt Lauer Signs New Long-Term TODAY Contract

Matt Lauer appears on NBC News' "Today" show Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

Matt Lauer is staying put in Studio 1A.

The 54-year-old journalist confirmed that he will remain co-anchor of TODAY Friday, amid speculation that he would be leaving the NBC morning news program after nearly 20 years. "This is my family," Lauer said on-air. "I love this job, and I love working with you guys."

Though details of his new long-term contract were not released, Lauer admitted that he considered leaving TODAY to work on a new TV venture.

"Truth be told, I was developing an idea for a new show where viewers could tune in every morning and see someone they know lose a little more of his hair every single day right in front of their eyes," Lauer said, "but then I thought, I could just stay here and do that."

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In December, it was reported that Ryan Seacrest, 37, was being considered to replace Lauer should he leave TODAY. The two joked about the rumors earlier this week when Seacrest announced he would be covering the Summer Olympics for NBC.

"What kind of conversations have you had with NBC officials about joining the TODAY show?" Lauer teased, to which Seacrest responded: "Oh. They didn't tell you?"

Lauer joined TODAY in January 1994 as the news reader; he has co-anchored the show since January 1997.

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