Ann Curry's days as a co-host of NBC's The Today Show are officially numbered, as The New York Times' Brian Stelter reports network execs want Curry out of her current role by the London Summer Olympics.
NBC and Curry have been negotiating in secret for weeks, but an announcement about Curry's future with the show could come as early as next week, according to Stelter. If it doesn't, the network is looking to get a deal done by the start of the Olympics on July 27:
“They feel real pressure to get it done by the Olympics,” one of the people with knowledge of the negotiations said. That way, “Today” can go to the games with a complete, comfortable team of co-hosts. The show typically gets a big ratings bounce — just the sort of thing it needs to fend off “Good Morning America.”
Part of the problem with Curry is that she's not connecting with The Today Show's franchise player, Matt Lauer, who signed a $25-30 million contract in May. When you don't get along with the star, you get traded, or made into a foreign correspondent, as this case may be. NBC's hoping to shift her into a correspondent role, which would be fine with Curry. She told The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz last fall that she considers herself "a hard-news reporter," and she wants "more spinach and less sugar in this big meal we give viewers," which doesn't fit well with the more laid-back tone to morning television.
We still feel a little bad for Curry. She worked on Today in some capacity for 14 years before replacing Meredith Vieira as co-host, and now it's being taken away from her in a spectacularly unflattering fashion. Friends of Curry told Stelter this was "her dream job," and that she's reluctant to let it go.
The current favorite to replace Curry is current Today contributor Samantha Guthrie, but Today show stalwart Meredith Vieira's name has also been thrown around now that she's back under the NBC umbrella as a special correspondent for NBC News.