Ann Curry has just celebrated her first year of hosting The Today Show, and NBC appears to be keeping with the traditional first-year anniversary gift, paper. Unfortunately for Curry, the first gift was pink, slip-shaped, and her last. After 15 years of news reporting for NBC, will this be the end for a celebrated journalist?
The internet has been buzzing about the current and future status of the 55-year old morning show veteran who took over for Meredith Vieira a little over a year ago. Curry is well known for her reports from war and disaster zones. Her calm demeanor and empathetic inquiries have made an impact not only on her interviewees, but on her colleagues and viewers.
One Iraq War veteran even started a petition for Curry to stay on The Today Show saying, “Ann Curry’s sensitivity to the human experience telegraphs through her journalism.” He goes on to explain, “One of the things that gives me a sense of calm and certainty in life is Ann Curry’s compassionate style.” The petition acquired over 18,000 signatures.
The Peacock network will not be firing Curry, just moving her from her Today Show post. While she is a talented journalist, it takes more than just compassionate interviews to create a 3-hour morning show program. Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira had a quick, witty banter with co-host Matt Lauer that served as a side of unexpected entertainment… this has not been the case for the past year. Curry and Lauer do have a warm friendship and long history, but their chemistry is that of long time neighbors instead of grade school friends.
This change in chemistry may be what has led to the show’s recent ratings slip – a slip was so great that for a few weeks this spring, ABC’s Good Morning America was number one in the ratings for the first time in 16 years. Obviously, a dip in ratings can be caused by a number of different factors, but it’s hard to ignore when audiences aren’t attracted to (and held by) the show’s hosts.
Recently, reports have come out speaking to Curry’s overall likeability. The social analytics company General Sentiment which uses Twitter, Facebook, Goggle+, and blogs to measure public perception reported that Ann Curry’s “sentiment rating” was lower than both Viera, Couric, and ABC’s Robin Roberts’ ratings. The less talked about the host is, the less likely they are being watched and the less likely they are to be watched in the future.
Unfortunately, this is something that has been on the anchor’s mind. In an interview conducted in early May with Ladies Home Journal, she revealed that she often worries, “am I not good enough? Am I not what people need?” and admits, “When people say negative things or speculate, you can’t help but feel hurt.”
Hopefully someone will mention to Curry (and to anyone that thinks this incident came out of the blue) that the fault lies in those who made the promotion. The Today Show has seen dozens of anchors and observed dozens more on competing networks. If Curry didn’t have the personality to facetiously spar with Lauer 5 years ago, who thought she’d be able to now? Why not take into account the skills she does have and employ those as opposed to sticking her somewhere that.
As it stands, Curry will stay with the network as a national and international correspondent for NBC News, which will allow her more time to devote to the kind of stories that she is best known (and best suited) for. She will anchor primetime specials and give international reports on any and all NBC news shows. The network has yet to say who will replace Curry, but rumors have not shied away from naming Savannah Gutherie.
In the interview with Ladies Home Journal, Ann Curry gushes about her workplace and explains, “I’ve been at Today for 15 years and I’d love to make it 20.” That particular dream won’t be happening now, but with more time on her hands to devote to the unreported stories of the world, she might find an even bigger dream awaits.
– Jordan Lints