As expected, Ann Curry announced that she was leaving the Today show yesterday, and as expected, she was forced out. Fighting through tears on the show, she said, “This is not easy to say, but today is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host of Today. I will still be a part of the Todayshow family but I’m going to have a new title and a new role.
“This is not as I expected, to ever leave this couch after 15 years, but [they're] giving me some fancy new titles, which essentially mean that I’m going to get tickets to every big story [NBC News] covers, with a terrific team of my choosing. For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but, man, I did try.”
Matt Lauer said that Ann has “the biggest heart in the business,” and he talked about some of the “extraordinary” work she did that he’ll “never forget.”
There’s no official word on her replacement, but it sounds like it’s going to be Savannah Guthrie. In the future, you’ll see Ann all over NBC that includes NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Rock Center and even the Today show.
While there’s no official word on why NBC forced Ann Curry out, the prevailing speculation is that it was a combination of: A decline in ratings and/or Matt Lauer asking for a new co-host when he renegotiated his contract earlier this year.
If Matt was not an Ann fan, that explains the awkwardness between them when Ann announced her departure on yesterday’s Today show. However, he talked as if he thought the world of her. So if she’s so amazing, then why did she have to go just one year after taking over for Meredith Vieira? Someone did think she had to go, and it wasn’t Ann.
In an interview with USA Today, she said, “I don’t want to leave.” She added, “In every single co-host’s first year, there have been kinks to be worked out.” When asked if she thought she’d gotten enough time to work out the “kinks,” she said, “No. I do not.” And when asked if she would have liked more time, she said, “Oh, sure I would have.”
As for the ratings, ABC’sGood Morning America broke NBC’s 16-year weekly winning streak in April, and has taken three additional weeks since then.
Here’s what Ann had to say about that: ”I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries, [but] there is no doubt that the rating wars have become meaner and less focused on our responsibilities as journalists.”
By the way, we’ve heard that NBC booted Ann despite owing her a guaranteed $20 MILLION over the next two years. Comedienne Lisa Lampanelli had this to say about that: “NBC is paying Ann Curry $10 million a year to leave Today. I’ll pay $20 million if someone will dismantle The View completely!”