The rivalry between Today and Good Morning America is so contentious, NBC's Ann Curry was forbidden to publicly reach out to ABC's Robin Roberts after the 52-year-old was diagnosed with bone marrow disease in June 2012.
In a New York magazine cover story, reporter Joe Hagan writes extensively about Curry's abrupt exit from the morning talk show -- and the immediate fallout the peacock network suffered as a result. When producers began to phase the 55-year-old TV journalist out in the spring, tensions reached an all-time high.
"Ann Curry was gone but not gone, which created a situation of spectacular awkwardness," Hagan writes. "Any trust that had existed between Curry and Today was shattered. When Robin Roberts left Good Morning America a month later to get treatment for MDS, Curry asked NBC if she could tweet a note of sympathy for the ABC co-host. NBC said no, afraid she was trying to aid the enemy."
Curry, who succeeded co-anchor Meredith Vieira, has remained silent about the situation since her departure in June 2012. Matt Lauer, meanwhile, has taken the brunt of the blame for Curry's dismissal.
Making matters more complicated, Hagan explains, is that Lauer had been in talks with ABC to develop a new daytime talk show with his former co-anchor Katie Couric. The 55-year-old had even spoken with Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, about the possible move. ABC executives were charmed by Lauer and excited about a potential partnership, but according to Hagan, the father of three "surprised them all by calling and saying thanks but no thanks."
Lauer extended his Today contract for a reported $25 million per year; he says he stayed on the show because he "cared about the show and staff." Though the show's ratings took a hit -- and Good Morning America's soared -- Lauer believes Today will bounce back: "I'm confident that the show we're doing today is the one that will allow us to dig ourselves out of the hole."