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As expected, Ann Curry — longtime veteran of Today, co-anchor for a year — announced her abrupt departure on Thursday morning.
It was nothing if not dramatic: while Curry’s predecessor, Meredith Vieira, was given an extended farewell upon her exit last year, an emotional Curry was allotted a few minutes in the middle of the four-hour broadcast.
“This is not easy to say but today is going to be my last morning as a regular role of Today,” said Curry, holding back tears, at 8:50 a.m. “This is not how I expected to ever leave this couch after 15 years. 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.”
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Addressing viewers, she added: “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.”
Curry, who’s been at Today 15 years and is expected to be replaced at the co-anchor’s desk by Savannah Guthrie, will remain with NBC News as a national and international correspondent as well as Today‘s anchor-at-large. In a seemingly unrehearsed aside, she conceded defeat: “I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line.”
Naturally, Twitter-happy media industry types and outlets alike immediately took to the micro-blogging platform with mixed reactions — and some shock over Curry’s raw and tearful swan song.
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“Meredith Vieira got a two-hour farewell. Ann Curry was given 5 minutes after 15 years on the show,” observed a tweet from Huffington Post’s Media blog.
ESPN correspondent Jamie Little wrote, “Sad to see Ann Curry bid farewell to the @Today show. Been an avid viewer since 18 & she’s always been part. Appreciate her journalism.”
Meanwhile, Colin Cowherd, an ESPN radio commentator, took a sarcastic approach, posting: “Ann Curry making 10 MILL a yr for some time, to talk on TV, is leaving The Today show. I mean it’s sad and stuff but… I’ll get through it.”
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Sharp-witted TV blogger Tara Ariano, no fan of Curry, retweeted a straightforward news update from NY 1 anchor Pat Kiernan, adding: “WE DID IT! [balloon drop].”
Quipped political author-blogger Ana Marie Cox: “Ann Curry leaving NBC to spend less time with your family.”
As Curry addressed her exit, many tweets quoted excerpts of her farewell speech, particularly her surprisingly honest “finish line” remark. Ironically, the Today show — which runs down the morning’s top stories and trends — became the story, and Curry’s demotion liekly eclipsed the program’s other coverage in terms of viewer interest.
“Lots of media folks watching Today Show for the first time ever right now,” tweeted Joe Weisenthal of The Business Insider.
On a somewhat wistful note, New York Times arts reporter Dave Itzkoff referenced the final scene from the past season of Mad Men, writing: “Ann Curry exits the Today Show and enters a bar where Don Draper is waiting. “Are you alone?” she asks. [cut to black].”
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