“Today is going to be my last morning as regular co-host of ‘Today,’ ” said Curry, tearing up as the “Today” A Team’s 7 to 9 a.m. show wound down with all the on-air gang seated on the couch.
Curry said it was not how “I expected to ever leave this couch after 15 years” and told viewers: “I have loved you, and I have wanted to give you the world, and I still do.”
“For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but, man, I did try!” Curry sobbed — the kind of hand-wringing you don’t usually see in these carefully orchestrated departure announcements.
“For all of you who did watch, thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she added.
Curry said she will, technically, remain part of the “Today” show family.
“They’re giving me some fancy new titles,” she said modestly, adding that NBC News will send her with a team “of my choosing” to “go all over the world and all over the country at a time when the country, and the world, needs clarity.”
Not long after her announcement, NBC News unveiled her new title: NBC News National and International Correspondent/Anchor and “Today” Anchor at Large.
The news division was quick to add, in its statement, that Curry’s expanded assignment includes a new long-term deal.
She was one year into a three-year, $10-mill-per deal with the division as the “Today” co-host.
Curry will report for all platforms of NBC News, will have “a major presence” across all digital properties, will anchor NBC News prime-time specials, and will get her own “newly created NBC News multi-person unit” that’s “dedicated to cultivating and producing each of Curry’s stories.”
Translation: NBC News has done right by their Nell.
“After all these years, I don’t even know if I can sleep in anymore. . . . But I know whatever time I wake up, I will be missing you and I will be believing in you,” Curry earnestly told co-host Lauer, weatherman/all-around go-to guy Al Roker and news reader Natalie Morales, who were seated with her on the couch.
Roker and Morales delivered canned comments about the show’s important Curry moments.
“You have the biggest heart in the business,” Lauer began after Curry had her say — the kind of lack of candor you usually see in these carefully orchestrated departure announcements.
“The way you care about people comes through in every single story you report,” he continued. “It’s not ‘goodbye’ by a long shot. We will continue to put you on planes, and you’ll be with us at the Olympics, and, most importantly, you’ve made us better, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
He then appeared to try to kiss her on the cheek, except that she winced/lurched and he wound up kissing the top of her head.
Yup, Lauer’s got his work cut out for him PR-wise, having been the subject of news media reports that he’d wanted Curry replaced.