Matt Lauer spent two years unemployed before he got his big break

“Today” anchor Matt Lauer was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2012. But back in the day, the seven-figure salaried talk show host considered giving it all up after spending some serious time on the unemployment line

At the Time 100 Gala, Lauer told that before he was hired at “Today,” he was at his “wit’s end” after being out of work for almost two years.

But when NBC took a chance on him, it changed his life forever. Now he recalls that time as being one of the most influential points in his career.

“I think most people would agree that [a big break] is one person taking a chance, and one person believing in you where others didn’t. I had a person like that in a guy named Bill Bolster, who called me out of the blue one day," Lauer said. "And I had been unemployed for about two years and I was at my wit’s end and he said, ‘I saw a tape from a couple of years ago and I like what I saw. Come talk to me’”

“When you have somebody in a position of power show interest in you after you’ve kind of been down and out, that’s a big boost,” he told Fox411. “And he gave me that and then kind of shepherded me through the process and helped me get this job.”

“The View” creator and legendary journalist Barbara Walters shared a similar experience, saying the most influential moment in her career was her transition from ABC to NBC to be the first female co-anchor of a network news program.

“I was an enormous flop,” she told“That was pretty influential.”

Check out other stars’ most influential moments at the 100 Most Influential People red carpet.