MATT LAUER says don’t blame me, haters – blame Peacock Net. THAT and ongoing Great Darkness saga.

No Curry with a fringe on top as Matt spills his guts  about embattled TODAY show — when Ann Curry was jettisoned, his offer to NBC execs to step down, and who was the first choice to co-anchor when Meredith Vieria stepped down in 2011.

“I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well,” Lauer said of Ann Curry’s disastrous departure, when she was replaced with Savannah Guthre.

“You don’t have to be Einstein to know that. It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well.

“It was a hard time for everybody,” Lauer, 55, said. “We were getting kicked around a lot. Some of it was self-inflicted and perhaps deserved.”

While public perception was that Lauer was the back-stabbing bad guy who forced the network to make the controversial change, ex-NBC News president Steve Capus said that Lauer “was quietly and publicly a supporter of Ann’s throughout the entire process,” and that the negative press he received in the fallout was “unfair,” RadarOnline noted.

The anchor did admits Curry was not his first choice to replace Viera, but rather former TODAY star Katie Couric.

The two engaged in top-secret discussions milling over a variety of ideas, including a possible return to TODAY, or the two of them teaming up on a syndicated daytime show. Complications with Couric’s syndicated show prevented that from happening, and Couric eventually latched on with ABC.

“We want people to feel good about a portion of their morning and we got away from that,” Lauer said, noting that the current show is “much more positive” and “uplifting.

“Much of the darkness is gone, by design.”