Ann Curry said goodbye to her fans on the TODAY Show this morning, ending weeks of speculation that her job as co-host was on the proverbial chopping block. Fighting back tears, Curry said that she appreciated that people saw her as a "ground breaker", though she obviously extremely saddened that she "couldn't carry the ball over the finish line". She was joined on the couch by Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales, the latter of whom may end up filling the vacant position before long.
"They are giving me some fancy new titles, which essentially means I will get tickets to every big story we want that we will cover with a terrific team of my choosing," Curry said. "We are going to go all over the world and this country, at a time when this country and this world needs clarity.”
Media reports have been swirling since the story broke that NBC was displeased with Curry's performance on the program, which many feel contributed to its recent ratings drop. For several weeks, rival "Good Morning America" trumped TODAY in the ratings, which was a first for the iconic morning show. To complicate matters further, contract negotiations with Matt Lauer included his demand for a new co-host, which may explain why the pair were rarely on-air together over the past several months.
"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," Curry told USA Today in a recent phone interview. Regarding media speculation surrounding her departure, she added, "I don’t know who has been behind the leaks, but no question they’ve hurt deeply."
Although she takes blame for some of the problems during her freshman year as co-host of TODAY, Curry ultimately feels that she wasn't given enough time to work out these kinks or develop some much-needed chemistry with Lauer.
"My father used to say, 'Well, Ann, maybe the best thing you'll ever do, you haven't even thought of yet.' And as I think about this, maybe that time is now," she said.