Just how unbearable was Today for Ann Curry in the months leading up to her exit? According to an excerpt published by the New York Times from Brian Stelter’s new book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, Curry told friends “her final months were a form of professional torture.”
One staff person recalled that “a lot of time in the control room was spent making fun of Ann’s outfit choices or just generally messing with her.” On one memorable spring morning, Curry wore a bright yellow dress that spawned snarky comparisons to Big Bird. The staff person said that others in the control room, which included 14 men and 3 women, according to my head count one morning, Photoshopped a picture of Big Bird next to Curry and asked co-workers to vote on “Who wore it best?”
Well, this may explain why Matt Lauer talked about the Ann Curry debacle in an interview with The Daily Beast. The New York Times published an article Thursday about Today’s ratings decline, Lauer’s plummeting Q Score and if the show’s audience no longer feels a connection to its longtime host.
Reportedly, Lauer’s Q Score has fallen from 19 in June of 2011, when Curry joined Lauer as co-host of Today, to 9 in January of 2013. As if that isn’t bad enough, the New York Times points out NBC and ABC are now analyzing whether-or-not Today’s ratings are better when Lauer is on vacation.
Ms. Curry has been gone for nine months, yet “Today” is still losing to ABC’s “Good Morning America” by about 800,000 total viewers a day. (In the 25-to-54-year-old group, it is losing by fewer than 100,000 viewers.) The ratings are scrutinized now by NBC and ABC for signs that “Today” is stronger on the days when Mr. Lauer is on vacation.
Ann Curry’s ouster from Today left many viewers with ill feellings toward the long-running morning show. No one has felt the brunt of fan backlash more than Matt Lauer. The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz recently spoke with the morning show frontman, who finally gave his side of the story.
Lauer on Curry’s exit,
“I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that,” says Lauer.
“It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well.”
Ann Curry can’t seem to catch a break these days. Despite reports CNN was eyeing the former Today co-host for a gig, TMZ is reporting the cabler's head honcho Jeff Zucker is not interested in Curry! A source told TMZ:
Ann has been sainted because of what happened to her [on "Today"]. The fact is ... she definitely can't carry a prime time show.
Has NBC barred former Today Show host Ann Curry from airing live interviews on the peacock network? According to the New York Post, the network has.
But although she’s been filing reports for NBC News programs including “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” sources said she’s been barred from doing live interviews.
The source continued, “Ann keeps bringing live interviews to the table. She has great relationships with celebrities” — including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie — “who will only sit down with her.”
Is Jeff Zucker already trying to bring some of his old Today magic to ratings-impaired CNN? According to the New York Post, Zucker wants to bring Ann Curry to CNN’s 8 p.m. hour, as a lead-in for Christiane Amanpour. Reportedly,
“Jeff wants a headliner like Rachel Maddow or Bill O’Reilly in prime time,” a source says. “He cannot allow the low ratings at CNN to continue . . . so he can’t hire a nobody. Curry fits that CNN-smarty-pants-foreign-affairs type.”