Ann Curry’s tenure as co-host of NBC’s Today could be coming to an end in the coming weeks.
A little more than a year after succeeding Meredith Vieira at NBC’s lucrative morning franchise, network executives are readying an exit plan for Curry, though they are working to keep her at NBC News in some capacity, according to sources.
News of Curry’s impending departure was first reported by The New York Times, which notes that Curry has hired Washington D.C. power broker Robert Barnett to represent her in negotiations with the network. Barnett also represented Christiane Amanpour during her transition from anchor of ABC's This Week to her current role as ABC News chief foreign correspondent and a return to CNN.
There have been no official offers or decisions about a replacement for Curry, but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Savannah Guthrie is the likely successor. Guthrie is the show's news anchor, the role occupied for many years by Curry, and co-host of the 9 a.m. third hour of Today. Her visibility has steadily risen at the news division; she often fills in for Curry and also has been a substitute anchor for Brian Williams on Nightly News. Guthrie also has the bubbly personality and quick wit reminiscent of successful morning TV hosts such as Vieira and Katie Couric.
Meanwhile, Curry has endured a rocky transition from Today news anchor to co-host alongside Matt Lauer, who in April signed a new deal worth a reported $25 million to stay on the morning show. Her forte, empathic reporting from war and disaster zones, has earned her admiration among her NBC News colleagues. But it has become increasingly apparent that Curry was miscast as Today co-host, where celebrity interviews and frothy banter are equally as important as hard-news chops.
The transition, which would be a swift one for the venerable morning show, comes as Today has felt increasing heat from ABC's Good Morning America. In April, GMA snapped Today's 16-year-plus morning TV winning streak during a week when Lauer was on vacation. And though Today has maintained its lead among the 25-54 demographic on which most news programming is sold, GMA has picked off multiple additional weeks from Today among total viewers.
Sources caution that the Curry transition, which is being led by NBC News president Steve Capus and Today executive producer Jim Bell in consult with NBC Universal chairman Steve Burke, is not finalized. But it is likely to be completed before NBC’s coverage of the London Summer Olympics commences July 27. Vieira will be on hand for the Games alongside Lauer, but it's unclear whether Curry will make the trip to London.
An NBC News spokesperson declined comment.