Ann Curry Leaves ‘Today’ To Cover Actual News

I’ve been watching Ann Curry on Today since I was in middle school, so when I read her interview with USA Today, it felt like the end of an era.  “I have called the co-host job at the Today Show my dream job, and I would be lying if I said it was easy to leave that job.” WATCH Ann say goodbye to viewers below.

Curry’s position on NBC’s morning show hasn’t sat well with a majority of viewers since she took over for Meredith Vieira a year ago.  In April, Good Morning America surpassed Today for the first time in 16 years in the the ratings war.  “I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries,” Curry told USA Today on Wednesday (June 27th). “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.”

Judging from the tone of her interview, it’s clear Curry doesn’t want to leave the show she’s been with since 1997.  “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 said. “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.”

When asked if she thinks she was given enough time to get into a good rhythm on the show, Curry answered, “No, I do not.” 

“I come to work every day not wanting to drop the ball on them,” she said, referring to Today viewers. “I’ve tried very hard to be what they need — even in the crazy-colored highlighter-toned dresses I wear that you could probably see from outer space. I’ve worn them because I know every one of us needs a little brightness in the morning.”

Matt Lauer said to Curry this morning, “You have the biggest heart in the business.  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.”

So what’s next for Curry?  She’ll stay with the network, leading a seven-person team to cover national and international stories, from the economy’s victims in America to the civil uprising in Syria.  Along with that, Curry will produce specials for NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Rock Center, and Today.  She’ll also fill in on Nightly News should chocolate-covered Brian Williams not be available.

“In my secret heart of hearts, I see this as a thrilling opportunity, she said of her new gig.  “To have a ticket to every big story in the world — no small matter.” Curry added that she’s “trying not to say it too loudly, because it’s almost like the dream you didn’t ever allow yourself to have because of the reality of network television today.

“My father used to say, ‘Well, Ann, maybe the best thing you’ll ever do, you haven’t even thought of yet.’ And as I think about this, maybe that time is now.”

Will you miss Curry on Today?  Or have you already jumped ship?