Ann Curry officially announced her departure from the “Today” show this morning in a tearful segment just before the 9 o’clock hour. With co-anchor Matt Lauer, weatherman Al Roker and news reader Natalie Morales by her side, she choked up as she confirmed the news, saying she will stay with the NBC family as an anchor at large and national/international correspondent, “which essentially mean I get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing.”
Curry was more real during her announcement segment than she’s been in the entirety of her tenure as co-host of “Today.” “For all of you who saw me as groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line. Man, I did try,” she emotionally explained. “So to all of you who watched thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me touch yours.”
After that, Lauer, Roker and Morales offered up remembrances of her tenure with the show and bid her adieu. When they returned from commercial, she was gone.
Her exit stands in stark contrast to the one given Meredith Vieira barely more than a year ago. Vieira’s exit was celebrated with a show-long farewell complete with lavish clip-show tributes, a rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin'” (seriously), Carol King (one of Vieira’s favorites) performance and a flood of tears from her fellow anchors and crew. Of course, the circumstances of Vieira’s departure were very different: she left of her own accord and was universally adored by fans of “Today” as well as the show’s team. Curry leaves amid turmoil that she wasn’t connecting with audiences and rumors of backstage drama.
Ultimately, we’ve long been of the opinion that while Curry is a fantastic hard-news journalist, she was never really a good at covering the fluffier stuff and is perhaps too serious a person for the morning show format itself. Clearly, she was quite good at her job as full-time news anchor of “Today” – a position she held for more than 14 years – and has long been one of the strongest stand-in anchors on “Dateline NBC” and the “NBC Nightly News.” Co-hosting opposite the malleable Lauer just wasn’t a good fit; she’s better suited to other things.
But watching her brief and sincere farewell and subsequent disappearance from the screen, we were saddened that she wasn’t given a more proper goodbye. While her year as co-host was rocky, she has been with the show and, in some capacity, with NBC News for nearly two decades.
She deserved better. Perhaps not an entire show, like Vieira got, and certainly not a false, happy-go-lucky farewell celebration, but an extra segment or two celebrating her years-long contribution to the show. Maybe some clips of the wonderful news reporting and serious interviews she contributed. While she lacked the lightness to host, Curry brought a great deal of depth to “Today,” and that’s no small thing – the show needs both to succeed the way it long has.
This is clearly an emotional time for Curry. It would have been nice for her many fans (and for the woman herself) to see that while things didn’t work out in the long-run, she was a valued member of the “Today” family and that her years in Rockefeller Center were as appreciated as they deserved to be.