NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt is speaking out about Ann Curry's recent TODAY ouster.
At a Television Critics Association press conference in Beverly Hills Tuesday, Greenblatt was quick to make it clear he had no "real involvement" with the daytime programming decisions that forced Curry out of her co-anchor seat.
Still, "I will say that to be No. 1 for, I don't know, 16 years or something, as that show has been, shows go through transitions and they're always difficult. I think everybody in the news division from what I could tell took as much care as they could . . . to make this transition happen," Greenblatt told reporters. "It's never easy. Things leak and you try to do things respectfully and then you have to go out and announce something you weren't ready to announce."
Added the exec, "My heart goes out to all those people, including Ann, and everybody who went through that transition."
Reports emerged in late June that TODAY producers were starting the hunt for a new co-host for Matt Lauer. Curry, 55, worked the news desk since March 1997, and was promoted to co-anchor in June 2011 after Meredith Vieira left the show.
As the morning show's ratings started to slide, the NBC News team blamed Curry's lack of chemistry with Matt Lauer.
"Matt . . . is 100 percent behind Ann leaving," a source told Us Weekly at the time. In the days leading up to her emotional on-air farewell, Curry and Lauer, 54, "were really icy to each other . . . she refused to speak to him all week."
Following her departure from TODAY, it was announced that Curry will still serve as an "Anchor-at-Large" for NBC News. Over the weekend, she was brought back to TODAY to cover the aftermath of Friday's tragic Dark Knight Rises theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, alongside her replacement, Savannah Guthrie.