‘Today’ — Where In the World Is Matt Lauer … Seriously

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The “Today” show needs all the firepower it can muster to blunt the return of Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” during the all-important February sweeps — but NBC”s biggest weapon is missing from its arsenal — one Matt Lauer.

Sources connected with the network tell our sources … Lauer is taking the week off because he wants to spend time with his kids, who are off from school.

It”s unheard of for a network anchor to bail during sweeps — when ratings translate into advertising dollars.  As far as we can tell, no anchor on “Today” has ever done it.

We”re hearing 2 conflicting stories as to why Lauer is MIA from “Today”:

1.  NBC knows they”re going to get their asses kicked with Roberts” return, and Today without Lauer is a good excuse.

2.  Matt just doesn”t care anymore.