Ann Curry Out at ‘TODAY’: What the Media Is Saying

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After one year as the much-scrutinized co-host on NBC’s TODAY show, a choked up Ann Curry announced that Thursday would be her last day in the post.

“This is not easy to say, but today is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host of TODAY,” she revealed.

“I am so grateful,” Curry, 55, said of her experience on the show. “Every time I wake up, I will be missing you.”

The seasoned journalist opted to forego a speech that would earn the NBC publicity department’s stamp of approval. With statements like “they threw fancy titles at me” to get her to take a reassignment, she made it clear leaving the show wasn’t her idea.

What’s the fallout for NBC? Find out how the media views Curry’s ousting.

Over the past year, ABC’s Good Morning America was steadily closing the ratings gap between it and TODAY. Then in April, it finally broke the NBC staple’s 15-year ratings lead. After that, the spotlight shone on Curry. She had replaced Meredith Vieira as co-host last year and there were plenty of reports that her chemistry with Matt Lauer wasn’t good.

And while the media and their sources can be blamed for pushing the blame game in recent weeks, that doesn’t change the obvious: NBC had already pinned the ratings loss on Curry.

“The mishandling of Curry brings to mind NBC’s about-face on Conan O’Brien, who was given the job of Tonight Show host only to have the network reinstate Jay Leno when Conan’s ratings went south,” L.A. Times’ Company Town reporter Joe Flint writes.

Flint isn’t the only one who believes Curry’s departure brings to mind NBC’s late night debacle. The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman has been sounding off on the speculation all week and says, “The departure from the TODAY show of Curry, a 15-year veteran of NBC, may not be as bad a debacle [as O’Brien’s], but it’s hardly been elegant.”

With Curry having taken the apparent fall for the ratings loss, Waxman says that Lauer and whomever replaces Curry – according to THR, it’s TODAY’s third hour co-host Savannah Guthrie – as well as NBC better hope the ratings slide doesn’t continue. Who would take the blame then?

“Television observers — including plenty of passionate commenters on TheWrap and elsewhere – insist that Curry was only a small part of [the] TODAY show’s problems,” writes Waxman. “And either way, the network has once again managed to wring a lose-lose out of a delicate management situation.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s chief TV critic, Tim Goodman, finds NBC’s treatment not only reminiscent of its bout with O’Brien, but also standard operating procedure for the network at this point.

“NBC dumping Ann Curry from TODAY seemed like both calculated assassination and bizarrely ill-timed roll of the dice,” he writes. “It also seemed, well, like NBC. Can’t this network do anything right? We’re a long way past ‘this is starting to get embarrassing’ and nudging up against ‘this is starting to get pathological.’ ”

Curry will stay on with NBC as TODAY’s anchor-at-large and as NBC News’ national/international correspondent.

How do you feel about how NBC ousted Curry from TODAY? Sound off in the comments section below.