Ann Curry tells ‘Today’ show viewers, ‘I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line’

USA Today
“Today” show co-anchor Ann Curry spoke with USA Today on Wednesday about leaving her job on the morning show after only a year. Curry will become “Today” show anchor-at-large and NBC News national/international correspondent, a change that has been rumored for more than a week.

“I don’t know who has been behind the leaks, but no question they’ve hurt deeply,” Curry told Susan Page. “In journalism school, you never take a class on what to do when you’re the focus of the story.”

In two references to a New York Times story last week by Mike Hale, Curry says:

“I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries … 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.”

False reports have bothered her, she said, “…whether it comes to how much I’m making or whether I’m [being] paid to leave or whether I’m hated by my colleagues when I know I’m not. And I have never felt like a stepsister at the ‘Today’ show family, as some have described me. I’ve always felt close to the people here.”

Steve Capus, President of NBC News, told Page there will be other changes to the program. “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 … This isn’t about streaks; it’s about consistent performance, and we want to continue to build the ‘Today’ show.”

Capus told Page that “the new job [is] a better fit for Curry.” But Curry, 55, did not agree: “I have called the co-host job at the ‘Today’ show my dream job, and I would be lying if I said it was easy to leave that job.”

Curry, who will lead a seven-person team, said she will take a vacation before starting a new multi-year contract. She has been a regular on the “Today” show since 1997, when she became the program’s news anchor. Savannah Guthrie is her rumored replacement.

Through tears, Curry told “Today” show viewers about her departure at the end of Thursday’s broadcast:

I will still be part of the “Today” show family but I’m gonna have a new title and a new role. This is not as I expected to ever leave this couch after 15 years, but I am so grateful. Especially to all of you who watch, because Matt and I and everyone who sits on this couch, we often call ourselves a family, but you are the real “Today” show family.

You are why I have ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped off of planes and off of bridges and climbed mountains and landed in the South Pole and convinced the Dalai Lama to come live in our studio. I have loved you, and I have wanted to give you the world, and I still do.

They’re giving me some fancy new titles, which essentially means I’m going to get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing. We’re going to go all over the world and all over this country at a time when this country and this world needs clarity. We’re going to do great work, I hope, and we’re being given the chance to do the work that most of us got into journalism to do. And these stories are going to air on all the platforms of NBC News including here on “Today.”

After all of these years, I don’t even know if I can sleep in anymore. I’m not even sure I can, but I know that whatever time I wake up, I’l be missing you and I’ll be believing in you. I love all of you, especially all of you who are behind the scenes, behind the cameras, I love you guys, Mark and Anthony, all of you guys, Davey, I love all of you. And I love all of our brilliant, brilliant producers. And for all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but man I did try.

And so to all of you who watch, thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me touch yours. And thank you for your tweets and for your emails and for your support, and I will keep trying. I’m so sorry I turned into a sob sister this morning, please forgive me, but I hope you’ll wish me well.

Matt Lauer responded: “You have the biggest heart in the business.”

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  • Diane Smith

    I wish I could understand this decision. Whether or not the leaks are true, I think the fact that Curry is so upset over this confirms that this was her favorite job as an anchor.  I appreciate how Curry puts good journalism as a priority over ratings. I didn’t get to see this show, where she gave a heartfelt goodbye, live. I had it recorded at home on my Hopper. I was pleased when my Dish coworker suggested the upgrade. I was able to start watching in my living room and continue watching on the patio, it was so convenient and I didn’t miss a minute of this important announcement.

  • Diane Smith

    I wish I could understand this decision. Whether or not the leaks are true, I think the fact that Curry is so upset over this confirms that this was her favorite job as an anchor.  I appreciate how Curry puts good journalism as a priority over ratings. I didn’t get to see this show, where she gave a heartfelt goodbye, live. I had it recorded at home on my Hopper. I was pleased when my Dish coworker suggested the upgrade. I was able to start watching in my living room and continue watching on the patio, it was so convenient and I didn’t miss a minute of this important announcement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katherine-Williams/100000784957428 Katherine Williams

    I watched Good Morning America this morning.  

  • kayeassc

    Sorry to see Ann Curry go.  There are many others whom I don’t think are great and Savannah Guthrie is not, in my opinion, a great replacement.  I am still scratching my head at that choice … I will still not watch the Today show because it is “all over the place” – cooking, reading, traveling, interviewing, etc. etc.
    There is no central theme – where in the world is Matt Lauer????? That segment is ridiculous … if I want to watch shows about travel, the Today Show is not one of them.  I think Giada L is adorable and a good cook but please keep her on the Food Channel … the cooking of the food is laughable – quickly throwing ingredients into pots and slopping it all together?  Instead of letting Ann Curry go … upper management needs a big reorg!  Ann was just the scapegoat for the mistakes of others.  

  • Anonymous

    One of the few good moves NBC has made, as they gerrymander their news coverage and spin their reporting. She was a weak link for news because she had little credibility with viewers as a result of her always becoming a part of the story as she morphed to feel their pain.

  • http://www.ContractsAndWarranties.com/ Steve

    She will with out a doubt find work.  Maybe it is Matt that they should do away with – but that will never happen.  Too many people with influence like him.

  • http://markxs.myopenid.com/ MarkXS

    Class act. I hope they really do make better use of Ann Curry’s excellent journalistic talents and instincts. Morning HappyTalk was never the right place for her. 

  • http://twitter.com/jonathantgiles Jonathan Giles

    Ann is much better suited for a “Dateline” type show.  She was a little to awkward/fake for the morning show experience.