Matt Lauer will stay at the Today show for at least another three years — at nearly half the salary of his co-anchor, Katie Couric.

Lauer has inked a new deal that could pay him a reported $8 million a year, TV Guide reported yesterday. 

Lauer has signed a deal that includes "a hefty raise" that could double his reported $4 million annual salary, the magazine said. 

That's still far below co-host Katie Couric's roughly $13 million annual salary. Couric inked a five-year, $65 million deal in December to stay at Today after being wooed by several suitors. 

NBC isn't commenting, but an unnamed network executive told TV Guide that "Matt’s future at Today is extremely secure." 

Lauer is more than a year remaining on his contract. 

Lauer, 44, joined Today as a co-host in January 1997 after Bryant Gumbel, his golfing buddy and best friend, jumped to CBS. 

Lauer's emergence resulted in an immediate ratings jump for Today, which ranks as TV’s top-rated morning show. 

Lauer's new deal shoots another hole in theories that he might jump to CBS's The Early Show, which is looking to replace Gumbel when he leaves next month. 

CBS is hot on the trail of Meredith Vieira, who co-hosts ABC's The View, but she has yet to make a decision on whether to jump networks. 

Lauer was out of broadcasting, waiting for a call from a professional tree trimmer he'd contacted about a job, when he got the call to join NBC-owned WNBC/Channel 4 in 1992. 

While at Channel 4, he co-anchored Today in New York and Live at Five until 1994, when he was promoted to newsreader on Today

Lauer's résumé includes hosting WWOR/Channel 9's 9 Broadcast Plaza, a three-hour talk show from which he was fired when he refused to do live commercials. 

He's also had stops in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. 

Lauer is married to his second wife, Dutch model Annette Roque. 

They have a son, Jack Matthew, who was born last June.

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