The turmoil surrounding NBC's Today show has been getting a lot of attention in recent weeks. The show has ceded its long-held number one position in the ratings to Good Morning America amid a high profile, unsuccessful tryout of Ann Curry as co-host.
It may seem trivial, but it's a big deal to the TV networks where morning shows are big business.
"They are the bedrock of the network," says Joe Hagan, who wrote a story on Today show host Matt Lauer in the latest issue of New York Magazine. "They are the highest cash generating programs -- twice that of The Tonight Show."
According to Hagan, the Today show generated half a billion dollars a year during its peak. And unlike evening newscasts, which have been declining, the audience for morning shows is growing.
To hear more about Matt Lauer and the economics of the Today show, click on the audio player above.