Jealousy, backstabbing, affairs, feuds, explicit conversations with Donald Trump. Those are some of the scandals that have plagued morning TV and ruined the reputations of our most beloved daytime news anchors.
Just last year we watched one of the biggest morning TV scandals play out during the worst possible timing – the election season. Former Access Hollywood star, Billy Bush was being groomed to be the next Matt Lauer at Today when an audio of Bush laughing as Donald Trump explained how fame enabled him to grope and try to have sex with women who were not his wife, leaked online. While Bush laid low for a few weeks, over at NBC, the decision to fire the TV anchor after a little over a year was already made. And then there’s the backstabbing. As much as they want us to believe that co-hosts are morning best friends, that can’t be any further from the truth. Take for instance the major drama between Kelly Ripa and co-host Michael Strahan, after he announced his exit from Live! With Kelly and Michael. Rumors of a feud took over all the headlines. According to insiders, Ripa felt blindsided by his sudden departure (she only learned minutes before the public did via a statement) and responded by waging a war against ABC and Strahan.
The drama that goes down behind the scenes of talk shows like The View and Today sound more like storylines straight out of an episode of Scandal than real life. Here are the top 15 that have done the most damage
15. NBC Used Ryan Seacrest To Trick Matt Lauer
The drama behind the scenes at Today is seemingly never ending, so it’s only right that we kick off the list with a lesser known beef between Matt Lauer vs the entire NBCUniversal network. Back in 2012, before Ann Curry bid a tearful goodbye (more on that later) Matt Lauer had failed to sign his new contract, leaving his future on Today up in the air. In response, the network played dirty in order to lock in their morning TV star. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke allegedly leaked the rumor that Ryan Seacrest might replace Lauer himself in order to put some pressure on Lauer. Obviously, it worked like a charm. Lauer found out about the leak and promptly signed on to stick with the network until 2014. By signing the contract, Lauer became involved in the executives’ secret plan to cut Ann Curry.
14. Matt Lauer Threw Ann Curry Under The Bus
Which brings us to the moment when Ann Curry left Today. Ann Curry’s awkward on-camera exit from The Today Show after co-anchoring the morning news program for under a year was a sign that there was definitely some tension between Curry and Lauer leading up to her exit. In a shocking 2013 New York Magazine story covering the behind-the-scenes at Today, the piece outed Lauer as one of the key figures in Curry’s firing. Lauer didn’t like her and reportedly refused to protect her during contract renegotiations. Anonymous producers claimed that Lauer was one of most powerful men behind-the-scenes, with “maximum leverage,” who could have actually saved Curry – but he didn’t. When it was time for Curry to bid a tearful goodbye, their relationship (or lack thereof) was obvious. The whole thing was tense and hard to watch and unfortunately for Lauer, his likability slipped.
13. Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s Conservative View Led To Firing
In 2013, when Elisabeth Hasselbeck confirmed her departure from The View to join Fox & Friends it wasn’t much of a surprise. Viewers knew Hasselbeck as the conservative one, would spar over politics with anti-war co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar. According to sources behind the scenes, the show’s audience weren’t responding well to its lone conservative Republican, and the network responded by firing Hasselbeck.
Her viewpoints were losing popularity when she fought for the unfavorable war. In one scene that’ll go down in morning TV history, she and Rosie O’Donnell’s fight over the war in Iraq escalated to the point of producers using a split-screen to show the two women verbally attacking one another for the entire segment. Not only did her political viewpoints annoy the audience, her hot take on ESPN host Erin Andrews‘ peeping Tom was… problematic. Hasselbeck issued a tearful apology after she said that the peeping Tom who taped Andrews naked in her hotel room wouldn’t have had to do that if he waited for her revealing outfits on Dancing With The Stars.
12. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough Are (Maybe) Dating
When it comes to on-set romances, this relationship is one of the most discussed and debated. Are they or aren’t they? Rumors that the Morning Joe co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough are more than just AM buddies recently resurfaced when Page Six confirmed that Brzezinski had “quietly divorced” her husband of 23 years. It raised a few questions, like did she get a divorce because she was in a new relationship with her co-host? According a source close to the pair, “everybody at 30 Rock knows they are a couple.” They continued that the couple are “constantly together, they arrive and leave events together, even on weekends. They are each other’s publicists and finish each other’s sentences. It’s the worst-kept secret in TV.” But when Brzezinski and her husband James Hoffer, settled their divorce, that secret wasn’t really a secret anymore. While their reps declined to comment on the rumored romance, they did themselves by jokingly bringing up the affair on air.
11. Joy Behar And Whoopi Goldberg Feud Will Never End
Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar are the two View hosts who have been in an endless battle for power behind the scenes. The stories of constant clashing between the TV veterans reached a new height in October, when it was reported that Behar and the network were angry with Goldberg for announcing her departure from the show on The Wendy Williams Show before telling the staff and her fellow co-hosts. Burn. Meanwhile sources claim that Goldberg, who usually works four days a week, hosted a recent Friday show in which she was not supposed to appear in, just to piss off Behar. Yikes. The feud all began back in 2013, when Behar made a big deal about leaving the show, only to return as a guest host the following season. According to sources, Goldberg was annoyed that she made a splashy exit just to gain attention.
10. There’s Backstabbing On The Set Of The Real
The breakout daytime TV show toted as The View for the younger generation is certainly taking a cues from the OG roundtable daytime show, including the feuds. When news broke that Tamar Braxton was let go of her contract, she immediately unfollowed three of her four The Real co-hosts, Adrienne Bailon, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai, on Twitter, but not Tamera Mowry-Housley. The shady move sparked a debate among The Real fans, and rumors that Adrienne, Loni and Jeannie could be behind her exit spiraled out of control. To make matters even messier, Braxton took to Instagram on May 22nd, and revealed that she has been “stabbed in the back” by someone she trusted, she made sure to note that she wasn’t referring to any of her sisters or husband. While fans are still speculating about what happened behind-the-scenes, sources close to the show claim that Braxton’s former co-hosts were “devastated” by the news.
9. Matt Lauer Wanted Billy Bush Out
In front of the camera, the news anchors maintained a great poker face when it came time to announce that Billy Bush wouldn’t be returning to Today after his involvement in the leaked Donald Trump audio. Behind the scenes however, Matt Lauer was probably celebrating the downfall of Bush, because he apparently hated him the entire time. When it was announced that Bush would be leaving Access Hollywood for the paramount of morning TV, Today, Lauer was allegedly heated. Why? Jealousy, of course. Rumors swirled that much like his time on Access Hollywood, Bush wouldn’t play nice with the other co-hosts. Lauer was angry over the hiring and allegedly told a producer that “Billy is loud and obnoxious and thinks he is the next Ryan Seacrest.” The feud got so real that Matt Lauer banned him from appearing on the show’s most popular hours, from 7:00 to 9:00 in the morning.
8. George Stephanopoulos’ Clinton Donation Caused A Crisis At ABC
George Stephanopoulos broke a major rule that sent ABC execs scrambling to control the damage. Correspondents aren’t allowed to donate to any political campaign, but Stephanopoulos not only donated to the Clinton Foundation, he failed to disclose this to the network. At the time, the network feared Stephanopoulos’ political bias would suffer the same fate as NBC rival Brian Williams, who was suspended by NBC News earlier that year for fabricating past reporting. Because George was the main focus of their 2016 coverage, it could be seen as a credibility issue that he was also donating to Clinton during her campaign. In response Stephanopoulos apologized on air and later removed himself from moderating the Republican debate. Still, the news rubbed a lot of viewers the wrong way, and led speculation that Stephanopoulos was expecting to work in the White House had Clinton won the election.
7. Lara Spencer Was Also Mad About Michael Strahan’s Exit
There were so many headlines focused on how Kelly Ripa was handling Michael Strahan’s exit, that no one noticed that the anchors over at GMA were also unhappy over Strahan’s promotion. According to unnamed producers at the morning show, Good Morning America‘s Lara Spencer was also unhappy about Strahan’s move because it meant that she would have to give up her unofficial promotion. A source told The Daily Mail Online, Spencer had been verbally promised the main anchor role on ABC, but with Strahan moving to the network for a full-time role on GMA, plans changed. Spencer had no idea about Strahan and felt blindsided by the move and betrayed by execs. “Alongside becoming a co-anchor Michael has basically been promised the 8am hour yet this was Lara’s hour where she could do the softer celebrity segments that George and Robin don’t want to do,” a source confirmed.
6. No One Could Talk About Lara Spencer’s Promotion Because Of Robin Roberts
Robin Roberts has been a fan favorite for most of the Good Morning America viewers, especially during her battle with cancer and when she came out as gay on Facebook. But as it turns out, our breakfast-hour favorite may be THE biggest diva and most demanding anchor on GMA. Yikes. In 2014, when Lara Spencer was promoted to co-host, according to TMZ the news was buried in an announcement to keep Roberts from freaking out. In an internal memo, leaked to Page Six, the network called Roberts “the captain of our team” before bragging about how GMA finally beat Today in viewership. Lara’s promotion wasn’t mentioned until paragraph six, where the memo casually lists Lara as co-anchor. Adding insult to injury, as TMZ notes, the memo was sent to staff when they were all off for Good Friday. Sources say the move was to prevent Roberts from entering the studio the next day angry over the renegotiation.
5. Kelly Ripa Pulled A No-Show To Get Revenge
Remember when Kelly pulled a no show the morning of Michael Strahan’s big announcement? The audience was told that Ripa was taking an unplanned family vacation, but the getaway wasn’t just out of a need of more sun. According to sources, her unexplained absence on a major news day was all out of revenge. Ripa wanted to make it clear that she was betrayed by the network and Strahan, and initially refused to turn up to work until Strahan left for GMA. Another source at the network said that Ripa was so angry she refused to appear on set with Strahan at all. She later conceded and joined him, but made sure to throw a little shade at the network during her now-infamous opening speech before kicking off the show.
4. Natalie Morales Almost Quit Over Tamron Hall
Trouble seems to be on tap at the Today show. In 2014, alleged tension between Natalie Morales and Tamron Hall apparently got so bad, Morales considered leaving the show entirely. Page Six broke the story revealing that Morales and Hall were engaged in a “power struggle” for the title of star of Today and NBC News President Deborah Turness sided with Tamron. An NBC source told Page Six about the tension on the set because of the beef between the hosts. “There’s a lot of tension. Natalie and Tamron are competitive, and there was a big blowup in October between the two. Deborah has an issue with Natalie and has sided with Tamron.” So, it wasn’t much of a surprise that after her two year contract ended, Natalie Morales made the move to Access Hollywood.
3. Matt Lauer and Natalie Morales Had An Affair
Allegedly, Tamron Hall isn’t the only reason Natalie Morales decided to ditch Today and move to Access Hollywood. Unsurprisingly, when news broke of the switch, Tamron Hall’s feud was forgotten and now fingers were pointing at Matt Lauer. This time, Lauer was accused of having an affair with Morales and being one of her biggest supporters until it was time to turn against her. According to insiders, he protected her for a long time, but when their relationship cooled, Lauer no longer wanted to work with her. It’s no secret that Lauer has lots of power at the morning TV show, and with the Ann Curry debacle, the last thing he needed were affair rumors. According to Natalie’s team there was no bad blood and NBC News loves her. “Her contract was up in the fall and she wanted to try something new. She wanted to go to LA. [NBC] wanted to keep her,” a source said.
2. The Today Crew Is Pissed At Megyn Kelly
Megyn Kelly’s departure from Fox to NBC shocked many, including the staff at Today who are said to be angry with the network’s decision to bring on one of the biggest news stars. Insiders say that as the network prepares for Kelly’s debut in September, everyone else, including the hosts, have been left in the dark as to where they stand. Segments are being cut down or taken off air entirely to meet Kelly’s demands. “No one knows why there’s such a disruption when shows are doing so well,” an insider told Page Six. Another insider adds: “People are pissed. The third hour was beating every syndicated show across the board. They were in over their head and bit off more than they can chew when they hired Megyn.” With news that Kelly may either take over the 9:00am time slot from Tamron Hall and Al Roker or will replace Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, tension is high on set. That explains Tamron Hall’s recent announcement to leave Today.
1. Tamron Hall Quits Today Over Megyn Kelly
Which brings us to Tamron Hall’s recent split from Today. Did Megyn Kelly have to do with her decision to not sign her contract? Insiders are saying yes. One of the most recent and shocking announcements from the TV world came when Tamron Hall decided to leave NBC News. According to people close to the deals, Hall declined “multiple millions” to stay on Today, leaving people at NBC shocked. The same sources say that Hall’s relationship with the network took a turn when Kelly was brought in and her top-rated morning show segment ‘Today’s Take,’ co-hosted with Al Roker, was cancelled in order to create a slot for Kelly. And just like how the network handled Ann Curry, Hall was only told of the decision minutes before she went live on air.