Free At Last! Matt Lauer Celebrates Katie's Departure At Sesame Street Fundraiser

<p><img hspace="0" src="media/2006-02-02-NBC-Tday-Elmo.jpg" align="right" border="0" />Looks like NBC's Matt Lauer isn't missing Katie Couric too much. Emceeing a fundraiser last Wednesday night for the ahem, taxpayer funded Sesame Workshop, Lauer had a good laugh at the expense of Couric. In a bit with Elmo, Lauer uttered what sounded like a set-up line for the muppet:  &quot;Katie is moving on to a wonderful challenge, and it's one of those days that reminds me of that very famous saying...&quot;  Elmo piped in with this punchline:  &quot;Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, I'm free at last!&quot; The following appeared in <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/gossip/story/422888p-356897c.html">Lloyd Grove's column: </a></p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><p>Matt Lauer was sure in a lovely mood the night Katie Couric left the &quot;Today&quot; show for good.</p><p>Emceeing Wednesday's fund-raiser for the Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces &quot;Sesame Street,&quot; the new king of morning television bantered with Elmo - his 2-year-old daughter Romy's favorite.</p><p>&quot;Katie is moving on to a wonderful challenge, and it's one of those days that reminds me of that very famous saying,&quot; Lauer told the Muppet.</p><p>It prompted Elmo to chime in: &quot;Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, I'm free at last!&quot;</p><p>It sparked a huge laugh from the posh crowd at Cipriani 42nd St. - while Matt took his sweet time regaining his composure.</p><p>&quot;These partnerships are rare, very rare, in television, in an industry where people are discarded all the time,&quot; Lauer told Lowdown in the VIP lounge. &quot;To have a person sit next to you for 10 years as co-host is a very special relationship. It's the longest relationship I've had with a female, other than my mother.&quot;</p><p>Meredith Vieira sat a few feet away, her cell phone glued to her head. &quot;She's on the phone, that's why I'm not letting her talk,&quot; Lauer joked. &quot;She's fantastic, and I don't think we'll miss a beat. I really don't. We'll miss Katie, but the show won't miss a beat.&quot;</p></blockquote>

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.