The rumors were true: Ann Curry is leaving the "Today" show.
One year after being named co-anchor of the NBC morning show, Curry has confirmed that she's out. The official word comes following a week of rumors that she was being cut from the program because of low ratings (earlier this year, ABC's "Good Morning America" bested "Today" for the first time in 16 years) and a lack of chemistry with co-anchor Matt Lauer. She will continue with the network in a new role.
“This is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host of the 'Today' show," a tearful Curry said told viewers on Thursday. "I will still be part of the 'Today' family -- I’ll have a new title and a new role. This is not what I expected, the way I would leave this couch after 15 years. I have loved you and wanted to give you the world. And I still do.”
As Lauer, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales looked on, Curry continued: “For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m so sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but, man, I did try! And for all of you who did watch, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
While she's out as co-anchor, Curry has signed a multi-year deal to remain at NBC and cover hard news around the globe. Her reports will air on "Nightly News," "Rock Center," "Dateline," "Today," and cable network MSNBC. "We're going to go all over the world and all over this country at a time where this world needs clarity," she said of the new gig. However, she joked that there would be a transition: "After all these years [at 'Today'] I don't even know if I can sleep in anymore."
Following her announcement, Lauer told Curry: "You have the biggest heart in the business. You put that on display every single day for almost 20 years. Most importantly, you’ve made us better, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
During an interview with USA Today on Wednesday evening, during which Curry confirmed her exit, she spoke about rumors that she lacked chemistry with Lauer. "Matt and I have had great on-air chemistry for 14 years, been part of the No. 1 winning team for a history-making number of years," she said. "That said, I just finished my freshman year as co-host. In every single co-host's first year, there have been kinks to be worked out, and perhaps I deserve as much blame for that as anyone." Would she have liked more time to work out those kinks? "Oh sure I would have."
As for the ratings drop, "I know I am not to blame," Curry told the paper. "And my bosses have said to me there are many factors involved. There is no doubt that the rating wars have become meaner and less focused on our responsibilities as journalists." And although "GMA" bested "Today" three times this year, "The show is still No. 1 in the ratings," she noted.
Curry's replacement has not yet been announced, but Savannah Guthrie is thought to be a strong contender.