After just one year as co-host of TODAY, Ann Curry is leaving NBC's blockbuster morning show Thursday, June 28, she confirmed to USA Today late Wednesday.
"It's going to be a bit of a tough day," Curry, 55, said in an emotional interview with the newspaper.
The veteran TV journalist joined TODAY back in 1997 as news anchor, replaced Meredith Vieira in June 2011 as Matt Lauer's cohost, and was quickly criticized for the show's sagging ratings.
"I'm going to have to tell our viewers," Curry said. "That's what makes me more emotional than anything. I don't want to leave them. I love them. And I will really miss them." She tells USA Today that she'll return to her hard-news reporting roots, covering international and national stories for NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Rock Center and, occasionally, TODAY itself.
She admits that rumors and jibes about her performance on the show "hurt deeply," and complains that she wasn't given enough time to fine-tune her chemistry with Lauer.
"You know, Matt and I have had great on-air chemistry for 14 years, been part of the No. 1 winning team for a history-making number of years," she admits. "That said, I just finished my freshman year as co-host. In every single co-host's first year, there have been kinks to be worked out, and perhaps I deserve as much blame for that as anyone."
For the first time in 16 years, ABC's Good Morning America overcame TODAY in the ratings race back in April.
"I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries," Curry said. "And my bosses have said to me there are many factors involved. There is no doubt that the rating wars have become meaner and less focused on our responsibilities as journalists."
Although the adjustment to her new gig (part of a seven-year contract) with NBC News will be a challenging one, Curry insists, "I have never felt like a stepsister at the Today Show family, as some have described me. I've always felt close to the people here."
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