Katie Couric on Ann Curry's 'Today' Exit: 'It Really Broke My Heart'

Katie Couric, left, and Ann Curry
Katie Couric, left, and Ann Curry
 Getty Images

Former Today co-host Katie Couric says she sympathizes with Ann Curry, who announced her departure from the NBC show Thursday morning.

During a Spreecast interview with reporters about the launch of her talk show, Couric praised Curry for the job she did as co-host for the past year.

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"It really broke my heart this morning to see Ann, because I know she’s suffering and is feeling a lot of pain with this transition, and I know that it’s really hard for everyone on the show," she said. "I still have a lot of great friends that I made over those 15 years on the Today show, and this kind of tumult is really hard for everyone."

Curry has been at Today since 1997. She replaced Meredith Vieira as co-host just over a year ago; Vieira was Couric's replacement after the latter exited the morning show in 2006 to anchor CBS Evening News. At the time of Couric's exit, Curry was serving as the program's news anchor.

On Thursday morning, Curry became emotional while announcing that she would be leaving her co-host spot to become Today show anchor-at-large and NBC News national/international correspondent. In that role, Curry will lead a staff of seven employees covering major stories in the U.S. and overseas. She also will produce network specials and pieces for NBC Nightly News (occasionally filling in as anchor), Dateline, Rock Center and Today. Savannah Guthrie is expected to replace her as Today co-host.

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"I do think Ann is a great reporter and loves covering those important international stories, as she said this morning, what’s going on in Syria and the face of the new poor in this country," Couric said. "And I think she cares deeply about those issues, and I think that she’ll do a great job in that venue."

Couric's thoughts echo those of fellow former Today co-host Deborah Norville, who was forced out during her maternity leave 21 years ago and replaced with Couric. In a piece for The Hollywood Reporter, Norville wrote that she "felt badly for Ann," whom she praised but noted that she "appeared truly wounded and genuinely hurt" while saying her goodbye to viewers Thursday morning.

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Couric added that she thought Curry did a "good job" in her role as co-host but admitted she wasn't privy to the behind-the-scenes moves that led to Curry's departure.

"For whatever reason, and I’m not on the inside anymore, they didn’t feel that the show was on all four cylinders or everybody was clicking properly," she said.

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Couric went on to criticize the morning-show landscape, arguing that those programs don't offer enough hard news.

"I think the balance of serious and fun is why ... these shows are fun to watch," she said. "And I think the mix has gotten out of whack, which is why ... these shows have gotten to be too 'tabloidy' or too 'true-crimey.'"

Couric's syndicated talk show is set to launch on ABC stations nationwide in September.

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