Ann Curry: 'I'm Sorry I Couldn't Carry the Ball Over the Finish Line'
Ann Curry will leave her post as Today co-host. She made the announcement herself on Thursday morning’s program.
“This is not easy to say, but today is going to be my last morning in a regular role on Today," Curry said through tears.
"This is not how I expected to ever leave this couch after 15 years," she admitted. "But I am so grateful, especially to all of you who watch. We often call ourselves a family, but you are the real Today show family. You are why I’ve ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped out of planes and climbed mountains. ... I have loved you and I have wanted to give you the world, and I still do."
Matt Lauer, who in April renewed his deal to stay with Today (for a reported $25 million a year), was sitting next to her.
“You have the biggest heart in the business," he said. "You put it on display every single day in this studio. The way you care about people comes through in every single story you report."
Curry will stay at NBC News with the title of national/international correspondent and Today anchor-at-large. She'll have a seven-person unit and will produce primetime specials and pieces for NBC broadcasts including Dateline and Today. She'll also fill in as substitute anchor on various programs including Nightly News.
Curry's announcement came at 8:50 a.m. and encompassed the remainder of the 9 a.m. hour of the show. Wearing a bright red dress, her last stint in the high-profile job that has been occupied by Jane Pauley, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira included stories about a new weight-loss drug and an interview with Magic Mike star and newlywed Matthew McConaughey.
The move caps a week of heated speculation about Curry’s future on the 60-year-old morning TV staple – during which Curry dutifully showed up for work in front of millions of viewers even as the blogosphere was abuzz about her early and impending departure. In an interview with USA Today on Wednesday, Curry admitted that the leaks about her future on the show "hurt deeply."
And her announcement was notable for its raw emotion; it was an exceptional scene on morning TV where the interview subjects, not the anchors, are usually fighting back the tears. As her mascara began to smear slightly, Curry added that she'll get "some fancy new title, which essentially means that I’m going to get tickets to every big story that I want to cover."
"We’re going to go all over the world and all over this country at at time with this country and this world needs clarity," she said. "These stories are going to air on the all the platforms of NBC News including here on Today."
Savannah Guthrie -- who appeared in the first half-hour of the show to discuss the Supreme Court's decision on President Obama's Health Care Reform Act -- will replace Curry, say sources. But Curry's announcement did not include anointment of a successor. That announcement is expected in the coming weeks, well before the July 27 Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics, which NBC will broadcast.
Guthrie anchors the 9 a.m. hour with Natalie Morales and Al Roker and frequently filled in for Curry on Today. The former White House correspondent and current chief legal analyst also has substituted for David Gregory on Meet the Press and Brian Williams on Nightly News.
NBC News executives have been motivated to get the new Today team in place in order to take advantage of the ratings bump that comes every two years with NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. Vieira, who vacated her Today seat in May 2011, will co-host the Opening Ceremony with Lauer and Bob Costas. And she’ll be on hand for the rest of the event, which was a favorite of Vieira’s during her time as Today co-host. Curry also will make the trip to London for the games.