In a teary, Oprah-esque farewell at the conclusion of this morning’s “Today Show,” co-host Ann Curry announced she would be staying on with the show but not in the seat next to Matt Lauer.
In a pretty smart move, NBC chose to make this official on a day when the Supreme Court decision on the fate of ObamaCare will swamp the news, thus making sure their decision to replace Curry is lost in it all.
Curry told USA Today that she was forced out and doesn’t believe the show’s recent ratings problems have anything to do with her:
Does she think she was given enough time to work out those kinks? “No, I do not,” she says flatly.
Would she have liked more time? “Oh, sure I would have,” she says.
Curry rejects the notion she’s responsible for the ratings slip that threatens Today‘s long dominance on morning TV, though last week New York Times writer Mike Hale wrote an article examining the idea it was “Ms. Curry’s fault” because of a perceived lack of warmth and ease.
ABC’s Good Morning America broke NBC’s 16-year winning streak in April and has taken three additional weeks since then.
“I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries,” Curry says. “And my bosses have said to me there are many factors involved. There is no doubt that the rating wars have become meaner and less focused on our responsibilities as journalists,” though she says some at Today do “brilliant work.”
“And the show is still No. 1 in terms of ratings,” she quickly adds.
Curry will stay with the show in a new role. She’s been given “a unit … that would do the sort of reporting she likes best.”
Reports say Savannah Guthrie will replace Curry. Guthrie currently co-hosts the 9 a.m. “Today” hour with Natalie Morales (who was rumored to be in the running) and Al Roker.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC