Being Matt Lauer must be a nice job if you can get it -- and expensive if you want to keep him. Not only is he reportedly getting a $20 million annual salary from NBC, but the network has reportedly agreed to fly him by helicopter to his horse farm and mansion in the tony Hamptons on Long Island from the Manhattan TV studio, according to Page Six.
Lauer does have an apartment in Manhattan but his wife and children live in Water Mill, part of Southampton, N.Y. A Today representative said that Lauer will fly home "on rare occasions ... but most of the time you'll find him stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway with everyone else." However, others suggest that the flights could be more frequent. Lauer has also told Esquire that the media has never correctly reported the size of his salary.
Whatever the exact details, there seems little question that in the world of well-paid television stars, Lauer receives a large paycheck. Still, helicopter service would be an extraordinary perk. You could chalk it up to NBC's larger concern over the Today Show because network executives see Lauer as critical to the program's success.
In 2012, co-host Ann Curry was controversially dismissed from the show, according to New York Magazine, in part because she and Lauer reportedly didn't get along. Lauer's image took a hit in the wake and Today's ratings took a slide, according to the Mail Online. NBC executives still thought that Lauer was critical to the show's success.
Ratings did eventually pick up and Lauer signed a new two-year contract in June 2014. Apparently some amount of chopper fare was included.
Lauer has been with Today since 1994. At his next renewal, topping the current offer could be tough. But the real question is, as he's getting flown back to see his family, is Lauer now an official helicopter parent?