Ann Curry ‘Today Show’ Update – Ann Curry bid farewell in a teary, emotional farewell from the NBC’s Today Show to millions of viewers this morning, apologizing for being unable to “carry the ball over the finish line” and saying she would now get a fancy new title as she traveled around the world “to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing.”
Curry’s announcement ended days of speculation, as she essentially got blamed for the recent dip in the ratings of a show that created the morning news format and finished at the top of the heap for 16 straight years before it got overtaken by Good Morning America on several days in recent months. Curry had been in intense negotiations with Today producers over how they would yank her and her $10 million a year contract off the Today couch. Now the speculation will intensify over her replacement. Some names that have come up are Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, both Today regulars—Kotb as a co-host of the show’s 4th hour with Kathie Lee Gifford.
Matt Lauer, the $25 million man with whom Curry supposedly failed to create any on-air chemistry, followed up Curry’s farewell announcement on the air by saying she has “the biggest heart in the business.”
“You put it on display every single day in this studio and you have for almost 20 years. The way you care about people comes through in every single story you report,” he said, noting Curry’s stories about the American hikers jailed and accused of spying in Iran. Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad picked Curry to announce he would be releasing them, he noted, “because of your humanity.”
“It was reporting at its best,” he added.
“You are the real Today Show family,” Curry said during her farewell. “You are why I have ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped off of planes and off of bridges and climbed mountains and landed in the South Pole and convinced the Dalai Lama to come live in our studio. You know I have loved you and I wanted to give you the world and I still do…After all of these years, I don’t even know if I can sleep in anymore. I’m not even sure I can. But I know every time I wake up, I’ll be missing you and I’ll be believing in you.”
“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,” Curry said, choking up even more. “So all of you who did watch thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me touch yours.”
Some observers and Curry fans will undoubtedly be miffed by the comparison of her farewell after 15 years on Today with the farewell a year ago of Meredith Vieira, whose tenure on the show was much shorter. Vieira got a full two-hour sendoff, with an endless montage of clips of her highlights and bloopers and a flash mob segment that practically involved the entire 30 Rock building. Curry got a few minutes of crying into the camera as she said “Bye,” with a few sentences from her colleagues. Not quite the same.