Matt Lauer is hopeful that he may be able to return to media in some aspect, but he knows there might be "zero chance" of it actually happening.
"His friends would love to see him do something again," an insider told Page Six. "He'd be great at a podcast or his own production firm, using his skills behind the scenes. He looks at how someone like Megyn Kelly has reinvented herself on her own terms."
Further, Matt "thinks that he should be able to have a comeback," the pal added.
A staple as a "Today" co-anchor for decades, Matt was fired from NBC in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct accusations, including rape. Since his high-profile ousting, most of Matt's media pals have shunned him, his inner circle has shrunk, and he rarely ever speaks to this former "Today" colleagues.
"He's still pretty upset about how he was ousted at NBC and upset at all the people he thought were his friends who turned their backs on him," the insider said. "He knows he made mistakes, and he is a lot more humble."
Still, Matt "has his confidence back" and the itch to get back into the media game is there, the insider says. It's really a matter of whether he can scratch it.
"He understands that there might not be any sort of appetite for [a comeback]," said the insider. "In other words, he wants to see if there would be any chance — but he understands fully that there might be zero chance. He's not unrealistic."
The pal adds, "His problem is that he can't go back to mainstream TV, because advertisers would likely pull away. He could do a podcast or something on his own terms. All of his friends hope he can find a pathway. But he isn't rushing into anything."
Interestingly, a media source told Page Six that Matt has been presented with opportunities, but something always seemed to torpedo his plans, such as Katie Couric's book, which included private messages between her and the disgraced ex-anchor.
These days, the former newsman is spending time with his children and girlfriend of more than three years, marketing exec Shamin Abas.
"Things are going well .. Shamin is perfect for Matt because she is very supportive, but also busy with her own company. She has been traveling for work and he has been tagging along on a few trips. They seem to have a great symmetry," the friend said. "They are serious but they are not living together. She has her own place out in the East End [of the Hamptons]."
Although he's happy in his personal life, Matt romanticizes about his old life.
"I think once you're a journalist, you always are. You can't ever shake that. You're never not uninterested in the news," the source said. "He is at a new normal … he exercises daily. I think he feels like he's got a bit of normalcy in his life. But it's not what his normal was."