NEW YORK — Ryan Seacrest is coming to NBC, but he won't be overthrowing Matt Lauer on the "Today" show.
The entertainment titan sat down with Lauer on Wednesday's show to announce that he'll be taking part in NBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics.
It will be the first of "a lot of fun things" he expects to be doing at the network, Seacrest said.
That apparently was the "big NBC announcement" the network had been touting all week. But the more interesting part of the interview focused on persistent rumors that NBC might be teeing up Seacrest to replace Lauer at the "Today" anchor desk, should Lauer decide to leave in the near future. His contract runs out at the end of the year, and his departure could threaten a 15-year winning streak in viewership for "Today."
"What kind of conversations have you had with NBC officials about joining the 'Today' show?" Lauer asked Seacrest during a lighthearted exchange.
"Oh," said Seacrest, grinning, as off-camera laughter was heard from the crew. "They didn't tell you?"
"Do you see yourself doing a job like this?" Lauer persisted.
"I see YOU doing this for as long as you want to," Seacrest replied. "So maybe the question is, how long will you be on the 'Today' show?" More laughter was heard.
Lauer offered no answer to that, but insisted there was "no tension" between him and Seacrest, adding, "I think you'd be great at this job."
"There's nobody better than you," Seacrest said.
Seacrest's new NBC duties add to a remarkably crowded portfolio that includes hosting Fox's "American Idol" and heading a production company that furnishes programming to many outlets, including NBC's sister network E!, where Seacrest co-hosts "E! News."
In addition, Ryan Seacrest Media holds an ownership stake in the re-branded HDNet, called AXS TV, and Ryan Seacrest Productions will develop and produce programming for that network.
Lauer asked how he manages his busy days.
"I think the key is that every morning when the alarm goes off, I'm excited about what I get to do," he said.
"Where do you see yourself in five years?" Lauer asked.
"The same height," Seacrest said with a laugh.