Fighting Tears, Ann Curry Breaks Her Silence
The NBC veteran, expected to announce her "Today" exit Thursday morning, says leaks to the press about her standing have "hurt deeply."
Today co-host Ann Curry is expected to make an announcement about her future at NBC on Thursday morning's show.
Curry, who succeeded Meredith Vieira as co-host alongside Matt Lauer a little more than a year ago, is set to announce her departure from that position. But the NBC veteran also has hammered out a new multiyear contract with the network that will give her the title of Today show anchor-at-large and NBC News national/international correspondent, according to USA Today.
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.
On Wednesday, Curry talked to USA Today about the announcement in a phone interview during which, the paper reported, she sounded "as though she were fighting back tears."
Thursday is "going to be a bit of a tough day," she said. "I'm going to have to tell our viewers. That's what makes me more emotional than anything. I don't want to leave them. I love them. And I will really miss them."
She also said that the leaks to the press about her standing on the show have "hurt deeply" and shot down critics who have said that she lacked "chemistry" with Lauer.
"You know, 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 says. "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."
Still, she insisted she was not to blame for the show's "ratings worries" (Today is down 9 percent in the 25-54 demo, though it's still ranks No. 1.)
Meanwhile, Savannah Guthrie -- who co-hosts the 9 a.m. hour of Today with Natalie Morales and Al Roker -- has been formally offered a promotion to the main broadcast, sources told The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the New York Times, Guthrie's announcement most likely will not be mentioned at the same time as Curry's, but the plans are subject to change up until Thursday morning.
Curry has been at Today since 1997. Despite its ratings drop, the morning show is the signature brand and top money-making franchise in the NBC News portfolio encompassing four weekday hours and a popular website that generates three-quarters of a billion page views each month.