Ann Curry gives tearful farewell to "Today" Show

Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:01am EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In an emotional farewell, Ann Curry confirmed on Thursday she was leaving as co-host of NBC's "Today" show after just a year in the high-profile job and following a recent slump in the ratings of the early morning program.

Choking back tears for several minutes, Curry told viewers at the end of Thursday's program she would be leaving as co-host of the show and taking up a new role reporting from around the world for NBC.

"This is not as I ever expected, to leave this couch after 15 years. But I'm so grateful, especially to all of you who watch," Curry, 55, told viewers in a reluctant farewell surrounded by solemn co-hosts, including Matt Lauer.

"For all of you who saw me as a ground breaker, I am sorry I could not carry the ball across the finish line. But man, I did try."

Curry's departure from the early morning mainstay had been widely expected as she came under sharp scrutiny for the program's ratings decline.

The show did not announce who would replace her, but The Hollywood Reporter said the job had been offered to Savannah Guthrie, who hosts the show's third hour.

Curry said she would remain at NBC News as an international correspondent and would still appear on "Today," as well as participate in the network's coverage of the Summer Olympic Games, which begins on July 27.

Lauer, considered the star of the personality-driven show -whom analysts suspected did not have enough on-air chemistry with Curry - hugged and kissed her and told her, "It's not goodbye. Not by a long shot" and "You have the biggest heart in the business."   Continued...

"Today" show hosts Ann Curry and Matt Lauer appear on set during the show in New York June 22, 2012. NBC executives are in talks with Curry about moving her to one of the network's news programs, only a year after she succeeded Meredith Viera at the morning show. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid