Ann Curry blasts 'Today' as 'professional torture,' says leaving 'feels like I died'
New York Times reporter Brian Stelter has been working on a book about the entire ordeal titled "Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV" and published an excerpt in this week's New York Times Magazine. The juicy details are shedding new light on Curry's state of mind during her final mornings on "Today" and the period after her departure.
Stelter writes that Curry was "overwhelmed by condolences" from fans after her tearful goodbye and apparently told colleagues: "It feels like I died and I've seen my own wake."
In the weeks leading up to her last day as host, "Curry was stunned by [the executives'] callousness, and she felt the publicity surrounding the transition robbed her of a chance to exit gracefully, and she basically shut down."
Curry also apparently didn't take kindly to criticisms that she lacked "chemistry" with fellow host Matt Lauer. "'Chemistry,' in television history, generally means the man does not want to work with the woman. It's an excuse generally used by men in positions of power to say, 'The woman doesn't work.'"
The "Morning" excerpt further reveals that NBC blindsided Curry after she left by asking her to guest host "Today" with her replacement, Savannah Guthrie, on location in the wake of the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado. Curry apparently didn't discover the plan until her plane landed in Colorado and filed only a single four-minute segment for the show. "One staff member was told to look into booking Curry and Guthrie on separate flights home," Stelter writes.
And he paints a vivid portrait of Curry's disappointment with and resentment toward NBC: "Curry felt that the boys' club atmosphere behind the scenes at 'Today' undermined her from the start, and she told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture. The growing indifference of Matt Lauer, her co-host, had hurt the most, but there was also just a general meanness on set." Ouch.