Matt Lauer Tells Ann Curry: "You Have the Biggest Heart in the Business"

Entertainment Jun. 28, 2012 AT 9:30AM
Ann Curry and Matt Lauer Ann Curry and Matt Lauer Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty

After just one year in the co-anchor chair at NBC's TODAY, Ann Curry bid farewell to studio 1A during her final morning show broadcast.

Celebrated by her colleagues Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Natalie Morales Thursday, Curry, 55, confirmed the long-rumored news that she'd be departing the morning show to take on a more varied role at NBC, covering international and national stories for NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Rock Center and, occasionally, TODAY itself.

POLL: Who should replace Ann on TODAY?

"This is not easy to say, but this is going to be my last morning as a regular cohost of TODAY. I never expected to leave this couch after 15 years, but I am so grateful to all of you who watch," Curry -- who inked a new, seven-year contract with NBC -- said, choking back tears.

"You are why I have ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped out of planes…I have loved you and I wanted to give you the world and I still do," she continued. "For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line, but man I did try."

Curry's trusted coanchor Lauer, 54, expressed his admiration for the woman he sat beside since June 2011.

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"You have the biggest heart in the business," Lauer told Curry, who joined TODAY as a news anchor in 1997 and replaced Meredith Vieira in 2011 as Lauer's cohost. "You put that on display every single day for almost 20 years. Most importantly, you’ve made us better, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

VIDEO: Meredith Vieira's emotional exit

As she adjusts to her new role at NBC, Curry had but one immediate concern. "After all these years, I don't even know if I can sleep in anymore," she joked.

TODAY veteran Savannah Guthrie is expected to transition into Curry's coanchor role, according to The New York Times' Media Decoder blog. NBC has not yet officially commented on the Guthrie speculation.

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