Ann Curry is going to tell her viewers this morning that she is leaving NBC’s Today Show and is giving up her co-host chair.
In an interview with USA Today, Ann Curry admitted it is “going to be a bit of a tough day” as she ended over a week of speculation about her future.
“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.”
Leaving with a reputed $10 million pay-off, Ann Curry, 55, will remain at NBC with a new title – Today Show anchor-at-large and NBC News national/international correspondent.
Negotiated by her lawyer Robert Barnett, her new contract to remain at the Peacock Network lasts “a significant amount of time” but she has not disclosed the size of her new salary, reputed to be as much as $20 million a year.
Ann Curry described the moment that she was called into NBC News president Steve Capus to receive the bad news about her position as co-host of Today after little more than a year as anchor.
“I walked into his office expecting to say goodbye,” said Ann Curry.
“Steve sat me down and told me I’m not done and he convinced me there is far more to do.”
Creating a seven-person roving news team for Ann Curry, the soon-to-be former Today show anchor will now travel the world to report on the world’s biggest stories.
She will produce pieces for NBC Nightly News, Dateline and Today.
However, despite her cushioned manoeuvre out of the morning show hot-seat, Ann Curry admitted to USA Today that the rumors and reporting over the past week hurt.
“I don’t know who has been behind the leaks, but no question they’ve hurt deeply,” she said.
The main reason for her removal at Today is thought to be her lack of on-screen chemistry with co-host Matt Lauer.
However, Ann Curry was adamant that was unfair.
“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 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.”
Ann Curry has also taken the blame from many at NBC for the Today show’s ratings decline.
The program lost the top spot among network morning shows this spring to ABC’s Good Morning America, a position it had held, unbroken, since 1995.
“I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries,” replied Ann Curry.
“And my bosses have said to me there are many factors involved.”
Reports surfaced last Wednesday that Ann Curry, who took over the anchor chair June 9, 2011, would be removed from her spot as Matt Lauer’s co-host before the network’s Olympic coverage begins next month.
In April GMA broke the 16 year winning streak of the Today show as the No.1 rated morning show and in the week of May 21 Today lost to their rival by 33,000.
Ann Curry has been criticized for not being as flexible or quite as quick-witted as Matt Lauer or Katie Couric, who had the hosting job for 15 years before leaving in 2006.
“We had a many-year run in first place in total viewers and it got snapped, but since then, every week in the past month we’ve started a new streak,” said NBC News president Steve Capus.
“There’s nobody complacent around here.
“We’re aggressive and we’re going to continue to evolve the broadcast and this one of the moves, but it’s not the only move in response to all of that.”
While Ann Curry will take some time off after her final appearance on Today, she will be back on U.S. screens reporting from the Olympics in London and then return to her love of foreign reporting.
“In my secret heart of hearts, I see this as a thrilling opportunity. To have a ticket to every big story in the world – no small matter,” said Ann Curry.
Speaking about what it has been like to work alongside Matt Lauer for the past year, Ann Curry was enthusiastic.
“Well, we’ve had a terrific relationship for all these years, and he’s such a star,” said Ann Curry.
“Obviously he’s considered the golden boy of morning television. He’s so good when you sit next to him; it’s hard not to be helped by that.
“He’s funny and glib, and he knows how the show works. It’s been my honor in this last year to sit next to him.”