Why is there no clear Matt Lauer replacement on the 'Today' show? Sources say Lauer's to blame

During his 20-plus years at the "Today" show, Matt Lauer reportedly made sure that no potential male rival ever got close enough to replacing him, using his immense power at NBC to do so.

According to a new report in Page Six, Lauer was "ruthless" in his quest to maintain his position at "Today."

SEE ALSO: Billy Bush says Matt Lauer defended him to 'Today' bosses amid Trump bus tape fallout

"Matt killed off, in their infancy, every man who could succeed him at the time that he was ready to hang it up," a source told Page Six. "So there's nobody to take his place. And now NBC is paying the price."

Those affected by Lauer's alleged "maneuverings" include David Gregory, Josh Elliott and Billy Bush, who "was already in Lauer's sights" when he was fired following the leak of the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape featuring future president Donald Trump.

This would go against what Bush told Stephen Colbert on Monday's episode of "The Late Show," which was that Lauer defended him to NBC bosses, urging them to let him keep his job on "Today."

See photos of Matt Lauer:

58 PHOTOS
Matt Lauer through the years
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Matt Lauer through the years
Matt Lauer on June 27, 1986. (Photo by Arty Pomerantz/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
Matt Lauer gets ready to call it a day after anchoring the NBC Local News on June 04, 1993. (Photo by Jerry Engel/New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images)
Matt Lauer during 1997 Lexus Challenge Hosted by Raymond Floyd at La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 17: Matt Lauer (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Matt Lauer during 'Batman Forever' - New York City Premiere at Sony Lincoln Square in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Al Roker, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer outside the studio for The Today Show on the streets of New York City (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Matt Lauer (Photo by Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Matt Lauer on Thursday Nov.16, 2017 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE -- Pictured: (l-r) Hosts Katie Couric, Matt Lauer during the 2000 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE 91ST ANNUAL MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE -- Pictured: (l-r) Today Co-Anchors Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer - (Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: James Nederlander and Matt Lauer attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: Matt Lauer on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Carson Daly, Matt Lauer, Hoda Kotb and Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Dolly Parton and Matt Lauer on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Norah O'Donnell and Matt Lauer during the Skin Cancer Foundation's Champions for Change Gala at Cipriani 25 Broadway on October 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Matt Lauer on Thursday Aug. 24, 2017 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 12: Annette Roque and Matt Lauer attend Apollo in the Hamptons 2017: hosted by Ronald O. Perelman at The Creeks on August 12, 2017 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Apollo)
TODAY -- Pictured: Matt Lauer on Friday, Aug.11, 2017 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SAG HARBOR, NY - JULY 3: Eric Fischl and Matt Lauer attend eBay Hosts July 4th Benefit for Sag Harbor Cinema Restoration Project at Lulu Kitchen and Bar on July 3, 2017 in Sag Harbor, NY. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Matt Lauer on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured (l-r): Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured: Matt Lauer -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 26: Journalists Matt Lauer and singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus on stage during Miley Cyrus performance on NBC's 'Today' at Rockefeller Plaza on May 26, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: (L-R) Journalists Chuck Todd, Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Megyn Kelly and Lester Holt attend the 2017 NBCUniversal Upfront at Radio City Music Hall on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer attend 2017 Matrix Awards - Arrivals at Sheraton Times Square on April 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Matt Lauer on Friday, April 21, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie are seen waling in Midtown on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
TODAY -- Matt Lauer's 20th Anniversary Celebration -- Pictured: (l-r) Katie Couric and anchor Matt Lauer on Friday, January 6, 2017 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Matt Lauer hosts an exclusive guest DJ session on SiriusXM's Classic Vinyl channel to celebrate the launch of TODAY Show Radio on SiriusXM on June 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer and Al Roker appear on NBC News' 'Today' show on June 13, 2014 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- (l-r) Matt Lauer sits down with Pippa Middleton in her first-ever television interview -- (Photo by: Anthony Harvey/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Dave Chappelle and Matt Lauer appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Tamron Hall, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer and Al Roker appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC News Wire)
TODAY -- Pictured: Matt Lauer appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC News Wire)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Journalist Matt Lauer and singer Celine Dion pose for a photo during on NBC's 'Today' at Rockefeller Plaza on July 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 12: (BROADCAST - OUT) Host, Matt Lauer speaks with swimmer, Ryan Lochte of the United States on the Today show set on Copacabana Beach on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Iseman, Akbar Gbajabiamila appear on June 14, 2016 -- (Photo By: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Carson Daly, Natalie Morales, Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Maddie Baillio, Harvey Fierstein on the 'Today' show on Tuesday, June 7 2016 from Rockefeller Plaza in New York -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC News Wire)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Journalists Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie attend the 2016 NBCUNIVERSAL Upfront at Radio City Music Hall on May 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: Matt Lauer is seen on April 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Patricia Schlein/Star Max/GC Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0459 -- Pictured: Journalist Matt Lauer arrives on April 27, 2016 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Matt Lauer at NBC's 'Today' at Rockefeller Plaza on April 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Caitlyn Jenner and Matt Lauer attend the 2016 Time 100 Gala, Time's Most Influential People In The World at Jazz At Lincoln Center at the Time Warner Center on April 26, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Time)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2016/04/07: Matt Lauer attends New York City Police Foundation gala at Waldorf Astoria. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer and Al Roker appear on the 'Today' show on Monday, March 14, 2016 from Rockefeller Plaza in New York -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: NBC 'Today Show' hosts Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer interview Chris Martin when Coldplay perform in the rain on NBC's 'Today Show' at Rockefeller Plaza on March 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: (R-L) Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer interview 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during NBC's Today Trump Town Hall at Rockefeller Plaza on April 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Matt Lauer and Jordan Spieth appear on the 'Today' show on Monday, March 14, 2016 from Rockefeller Plaza in New York -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Matt Lauer and Jennifer Lopez appear on the 'Today' show on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: Jack Matthew Lauer, Romy Lauer and Matt Lauer attend The Philadelphia 76ers vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on January 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 10: TV personalities Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Tamron Hall, Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer attend the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
TV personalities Al Roker (L) and Matt Lauer arrive, at the 73nd annual Golden Globe Awards, January 10, 2016, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON / AFP / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 04: Matt Lauer is seen in 'Midtown'on January 4, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Co-Anchor Matt Lauer speaks with Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and Dr. Stephen Zeitels about having laser surgery on his vocal chords, as shown in a new National Geographic special on NBC News' Today on October 19, 2007 -- Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) C-Anchor Matt Lauer speaks with actor Denzel Washington about his new film, 'American Gangster' on NBC News' Today on October 19, 2007 -- Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank
OHIO, UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: 'Today' show co-host Matt Lauer (R) being congratulated by school President Robert Glidden (L) for receiving his bachelor's degree from Ohio University 18 years after he was a student. (Photo by Steve Kagan/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
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"We had a conversation about that and I was told, he told me, that he went privately to the bosses and took that line," Bush said on Monday. "I said I appreciated it, and I accepted it, and thanked him."

In the week since NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced that Lauer was fired from NBC News for "inappropriate sexual behavior," speculation has mounted around who could possibly fill his seat as co-anchor of the network's premiere morning show.

SEE ALSO: Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque 'lived separately' before sexual misconduct scandal, source says

Initial reports indicated that new addition Megyn Kelly was gunning for his vacant seat, with sources going so far as to allege that she urged women to come forward with their stories about Lauer's misconduct to help her snag the position. Multiple sources say that this isn't the case, and that Kelly isn't seriously being considered for the role.

One front-runner could be Willie Geist, who hosts "Sunday Today" and has filled in for Lauer in the past.

"The network likes Megyn in her current role," a source told ET. "The rumor around the 'Today' show offices is that Willie Geist could be the one to replace Matt."

Another likely contender is "Weekend Today" host Craig Melvin, though one network exec quoted by Page Six is skeptical of Melvin's chances, noting that he "couldn't pick him out of a lineup."

For now, Hoda Kotb will continue to fill in for Lauer "in the short term," a source said.

Since his firing, Lauer has been holing up at his home in East Hampton with his family, though some reports claim that his wife Annette Roque has fled the country. The ousted "Today" anchor has been spotted twice, once meeting up with a famed lawyer and another instance where he was wearing his wedding ring.

See photos of Matt Lauer and Annette Roque:

26 PHOTOS
Matt Lauer and Annette Roque together through the years
See Gallery
Matt Lauer and Annette Roque together through the years
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 12: Annette Roque and Matt Lauer attend Apollo in the Hamptons 2017: hosted by Ronald O. Perelman at The Creeks on August 12, 2017 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Apollo)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: Annette Roque and Matt Lauer attend the 2013 Animal League America Celebrity gala at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY - SEPTEMBER 01: Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque Lauer attend the 38th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show - Grand Prix Sunday on September 1, 2013 in Bridgehampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: 'Today' host Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque attend 2013 Tribeca Ball at New York Academy of Art on April 8, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 03: Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque attend the 2008 UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani 42nd Street on December 3, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - MAY 15: TV personality Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque visit the 'Ye Waverly Inn' resturant on May 15, 2008 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)
Actress Mary Tyler Moore, television journalist Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque attend the Fifth Annual ASPCA Bergh Ball on April 25, 2002 at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - APRIL 23: Annette Roque and Matt Lauer attend ROGER VIVIER Cocktail Party Benefiting CENTRAL PARK CONSERVANCY at Roger Vivier on April 23, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by BILLY FARRELL/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MAY 8: Annette Roque and Matt Lauer attend TIME MAGAZINE'S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD at Jazz @ Lincoln Center on May 8, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by JIMI CELESTE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MAY 8: Matt Lauer and Annette Roque Lauer attend TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People 2007 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 8, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by PATRICK MCMULLAN/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Matt Lauer and Annette Roque Lauer attend Baccarat Presents the 2nd Annual UNICEF SNOWFLAKE BALL at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on November 28, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Matt Lauer, Annette Roque Lauer during Bergdorf Goodman celebrates Madonna's new book at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by M. Von Holden/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - APRIL 19: NBC 'Today' show host Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque arrive for Time Magazine Celebrates New 'Time 100' list of Most Influential People In The World at the Time Warner Center on April 19, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
Annette Roque Lauer and Matt Lauer during Escada and InStyle Host Benefit for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF at ESCADA Fifth Avenue in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Matt Lauer, Annette Roque Lauer during Bette Midler Receives the Medal of Distinction by Lenox Hill Hospital at 2002 Autumn Ball at Waldorf Astoria in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
Matt Lauer and Annette Roque during 5th Annual ASPCA Bergh Ball at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - APRIL 25: Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque attend ASPCA Bergh Ball Honoring Roger A. Caras on April 25, 2001 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
370677 06: Today Show Host Matt Lauer with his wife Annette Roque Lauer attend The Fresh Air Fund Benefit, June 8, 2000 in New York City. The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not for profit agency which has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million disadvantaged New York City children since 1877. The annual event is held at Tavern On The Green in New York City. (Photo By George De Sota/Liaison)
Television journalist Matt Lauer and wife, model Annette Roque, at book party for Al Roker. (Photo by Marion Curtis/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - OCTOBER 21: Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque attend Third Annual GQ Men of the Year Awards on October 21, 1998 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Nyc 10/21/98 Gq Magazine Honors 'Men Of The Year' At Radio City Music Hall. Matt Lauer & New Bride Annette Roque (Photo By Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 03: NBC 'Today' show host Matt Lauer and model Annette Roque leave Bridgehampton Presbyterian Chuch on Long Island after their wedding. (Photo by John Roca/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NANTUCKET - JUNE 19: Nantucket Film Festival. Matt Lauer and then-fianc� Annette Roque at Bob and Suzanne Wright?s party at the Nantucket Film Festival, Nantucket, MA June 19, 1998 (Photo by Lindsay Brice/Getty Images)
Matt Lauer & Annette Roque during 1997 Lexus Challenge After Party at La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Annette Roque and Matt Lauer during 'Anchors Aweigh' Benefit for Muscular Dystrophy Association at Aboard Spirit of New York in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
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