It's not quite the Conan O'Brien debacle, but it will hardly be a surprise when Ann Curry announces her exit from the Today show, which now looks likely to happen Thursday morning. There's still a possibility the announcement could be pushed back, but when it does happen it will be the end of a long push by NBC to get Curry out of the Today anchor chair next to Matt Lauer.
Last week The New York Times reported NBC was preparing to remove Curry just over a year after she took over the anchor spot from Meredith Vieira. By all accounts the dissatisfaction with Curry stems from poor ratings. Today has long dominated its ABC rival Good Morning America until this spring, when the latter beat Today consistently for several weeks in a row.
There have also been rumblings that Curry's journalistic standards don't quite mix with the sometimes bubbly morning personality of the show. It's being speculated she'll be reassigned to a foreign correspondent position or something similar. Viewers of the Haitian disaster coverage will remember Curry's time there during the aftermath of the earthquake.
Despite seemingly being an open secret, there hasn't been any mention of Curry's eventual exit on Today at all. There has been resistance to NBC's decision from more than Curry and her recently hired lawyer Robert Barnett. Stephen J. Crowley, an Iraq war veteran, has posted an online petition campaigning to keep Curry on the morning show. As of Wednesday, there are just over 23,000 signatures.
It's been widely speculated that Savannah Guthrie will be Curry's replacement once the announcement takes place.
The New York Times reports, This week, NBC officials began negotiations with Savannah Guthrie, Ms. Curry's expected successor on the show. But Ms. Guthrie will most likely not be mentioned when Ms. Curry informs viewers about her intentions to leave 'Today' ... The network may wait until early July to publicly identify Ms. Guthrie as Ms. Curry's successor in the chair next to Mr. Lauer. Ms. Guthrie is now the co-host of the 9 a.m. hour of 'Today' and the chief legal correspondent for the news division.
Along with fans of Curry, media observers have criticized NBC executives for letting the word get out about the situation. Jon Friedman of Marketwatch wrote Tuesday that Curry is being made the scapegoat for the failings of Today as a whole and she's being offered $10 million to be thrown under the bus.