Matt Lauer Has A Higher Salary Than Some Of The Biggest Athletes On Earth
In TV Guide's upcoming salary issue, we learn that NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams earns $13 million annually, ABC World News host Diane Sawyer earns $12 million, and CNN's Anderson Cooper makes $11 million. The entire issue is essentially wage porn, which is always an entertaining time.
The Peter North of this list is Matt Lauer, whose new contract with NBC earns him a whopping $17 million a year to interview birds and piss off Kanye West. This is amazing, and, as cultural critic and MSNBC contributor Touré noted, is "[Derek] Jeter money."
Actually, it's more than Derek Jeter money.
The Yankee captain will make $14,729,365 in base salary in 2011, according to ESPN.com. Lauer makes $2,270,635 more than that, $2,088,299 more than Mariano Rivera, and $7,000,000 more than Robinson Cano. In fact, the only New York Yankees that make more than Matt Lauer are C.C. Sabathia ($24,285,714) and Alex Rodriguez ($23,125,000).
And it's not just Jeter and Mo that Lauer has beaten in the salary department. Here are some other notable athletes whose base salary is lower than Lauer's.*
- In fact, the only thing more interesting than who makes less than Lauer in the NBA is who makes more. While Amare and the Heat's Big Three came up short, Vince Carter, Gilbert Arenas, Michael Redd, and Rashard Lewis all out-earned the Today Show host. Which is amazing in a completely infuriating way, and is probably why the NBA is locked out right now.
So what did we learn from this? Well, first of all, Matt Lauer makes an incredible amount of money. Like, a ton. He would be one of the highest-paid players in the NBA and MLB, would be extremely well-paid by NFL standards, and, if we're basing things only on salary, his job is more valuable than LeBron James'.
Is it as hard? Well, that's tough to gauge. Physically, no: the rigors of playing an 82-game season, plus a few in the playoffs (but no fourth quarters! LOL), outweigh even waking up at the crack of dawn to do the news.
Psychologically, that's tougher to determine. You have to be talking about something incredibly serious at one moment, then something dumb and trivial the next ("... only three survived. Coming up next, we interview the cast of The A-Team!").
There are the occasional gaffes, so there's that to deal with. And you always have to be on and witty and with it, at a time when most people on earth feel like crap. That takes a special talent.
So yeah, Matt Lauer earned that $17 million. Well, we'll say this: he earned it just as much as a group of men who play with balls for a living did.
*We didn't include base salaries for performance and endorsements. For all of Lauer's talents, we doubt he could sell Gatorade.
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