So here’s a lesson on how cutthroat the television business is. As you know, Ann Curry, the 15 year veteran of The Today Show and the program’s official co-host with Matt Lauer since June 2011, got a shiv in the back by NBC this week.
Officially because of slumping ratings (though the show is still No.1 in the mornings), Curry was dumped as co-host and given the job as an international roving correspondent for NBC News.
Anyone who saw her tearful and emotional farewell speech Thursday knows how devastated she was by the turn of events, and still in a fog about how everything went so wrong so fast. (And she also knows how to respond if you check her body language HERE when she gets a kiss from Lauer)
Of course the slump in the ratings could have in no way been Lauer’s fault. In the network’s eyes nothing is ever his fault. He could burn down Rockfeller Center and they’ll blame Al Roker.
But for weeks, the talk was that the real reason why Curry was removed was because Lauer simply didn’t like her. News reports said that, behind the scenes, when Lauer negotiated his new contract with NBC for the Today Show this spring (bumping his yearly salary from $17 million a year to $25 million a year) one absolute provision was that Curry would be replaced.
In Curry’s place as co-host for the all important 7-9AM slot will be Savannah Guthrie who’s been called “blander than oatmeal”, but who, no doubt, is the right person to perform her basic requirements for the job. That is, to always smile, look at Lauer in awe and nod approvingly at whatever he says.
Guthrie previously co-hosted the 9AM third hour of Today with Roker. But now that she’s been officially moved up, who will take her place?
Well, according to sources, that someone is MSNBC’s Tamron Hall, who also occasionally appears on the Today Show as a substitute news anchor, and who’s come a long way from her early days as a local Fox anchor in Chicago.
Reports are that she is currently in negotiations with the network to become the co-host of the 9AM slot with Roker, and she will also continue doing her daily afternoon MSNBC show NewsNation.
But the great thing about doing the Today Show gig is that she’ll be working with Roker and not have to worry about getting on Lauer’s bad side.