NEW YORK (Reuters) - A tearful Meredith Vieira said on Monday she will leave her job as co-host of NBC’s “Today” show next month to spend more time with her children and her sick husband.
“I can’t be here every day,” she told viewers on Monday, while fighting back tears. “I really hope to stay with the NBC family. That is my goal.”
Vieira’s last broadcast will be June 8. She will be replaced by “Today” news anchor Ann Curry.
Vieira’s husband Richard Cohen suffers from multiple sclerosis and is battling colon cancer.
Vieira told a news conference later on Monday that she wanted to set the record straight about her husband’s health, saying speculative reports have taken a toll on the couple.
“My husband Richard is in good health and that’s part of the reason I want to leave,” she said. “I want to be there with him and I want to have fun and appreciate our time together, and not have to punch in on a clock so much.”
She said her also exit coincides with her daughter graduating from high school and son from college, giving her time to take a vacation with her family.
Vieira, 57, joined “Today” in 2006 after co-hosting female chat show “The View” on rival ABC for 9 years. NBC News president Steve Capus said on Monday the network was still figuring out what future role she would play with the network.
Vieira replaced Katie Couric on the show when she left NBC in 2006 to anchor the nightly newscast for CBS. Couric recently announced she’s stepping down from the CBS anchor position and hopes to launch her own syndicated talk show.
Addressing rumors about his own future, “Today” co-host Matt Lauer said he plans on staying but confirmed he had talks with Couric about working with her on her new venture.
“It turned into just talk and that’s where we left it,” he said. “I‘m going to be here (at ‘Today’) for a long period of time and I think that’s the best way to answer the question.”
Curry has been a “Today” news anchor on the morning show since 1997 and said she was humbled to share a leading role on the show with Lauer.
“I feel like the high school computer nerd who was just asked to the prom by the quarterback of the football team,” she told viewers on Monday.
Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune