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In 2012, “Today” show host Matt Lauer appeared on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter, next to a headline that read “The New Most Powerful Face in News.”

No one would dispute that characterization — at the time, Lauer had just signed a monstrous four-year contract with NBC, reportedly north of $20 million a year. Not only was he one of the highest-paid personalities on television, but as the star anchor of the country’s top-rated morning show, he could help shape the national conversation from his perch at 30 Rockefeller Center.

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“Today” show co-hosts Matt Lauer and Ann Curry at the “Today” show 60th anniversary celebration in 2012 in New York. (Evan Agostini/AP)

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As Matt Lauer is fired from ‘Today,’ Ann Curry’s disastrous exit is back …

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