No Curry-ing Favor on “Today”

I didn’t use to be an Ann Curry fan. When I worked in Philadelphia, I was a multimedia producer for WCAU-TV’s MSNBC on the Internet operation. Ms. Curry was an anchor on MSNBC at the time and I saw her on-air often. She seemed too dramatic.

It took me leaving Philly and after five years in NYC (with Fox News Channel/Fox News Radio) to actually watch Ann Curry again. She seemed different to me; seamlessly transitioning from a celeb interview to a serious story. Ann Curry had “it;” a rare combination of smarts, style, and substance.

When Meredith Viera left the Today Show last year, Ms. Curry was named the new co-anchor, alongside stalwart Matt Lauer. It was a solid move… or was it? Fast forward to 2012. A story by Brian Stelter in the New York Times on June 20, reported that the Peacock Network was prepared to fire Ann Curry. I was baffled. The Today Show ratings have slipped a bit (ABC’s “Good Morning America” is gaining a ton of ground) and it appears that NBC needs a scapegoat. They pointed the finger of blame at Curry.

It’s not that firings in the media are all that shocking. Keith Olbermann has been canned more times that I can count. Dan Rather was (technically) fired, too. But it the way that NBC News is handling this situation is a) wrong and b) a public relations faux paux.

Curry is known for her international reporting of major stories from places such as Baghdad, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Albania, and Darfur. Needless to say, she has faced harsher times than what NBC is doing to her. As of this posting, the network hasn’t even commented on the speculation, leaving Curry to face questions as to her future. It’s a total lack of respect for a woman who has not only worked extremely hard, but who has shown class and grace.

From a public relations standpoint, NBC is taking a big hit. The media is already speculating who will take Ms. Curry’s place. The move is a bad one, but not something NBC seems to care about. They basically did the same thing with Conan O’Brien in 2010. Secondly, NBC hasn’t said word one about this report, let alone whether Ms. Curry is actually being fired or re-assigned.

Morning television is a big business. But that doesn’t mean that when business gets slow, you remove a piece. NBC should be finding ways to make the Today Show better. Leaving Ann Curry to wave in the breeze like a tattered flag isn’t good business… or good for ratings.


Posted on June 26, 2012, in Hot Topic, Public Relations, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Ya know, I’m glad you’re writing about this, we’re Today Show regulars and I wasn’t a big fan of Meredith as co-host, it seemed natural for Ann Curry to take her place when she left. I think she’s professional, she’s an amazing, compassionate reporter. I’m bummed about this whole thing and the way they’re handling it, to be honest. I think she deserves better than that.

    • We’ve seen our share of “episodes” while working in TV. I just can’t fathom a network pulling one of their main anchors through the ringer like this. Unprofessional. But, I’m sure Ann Curry will not dive into the muck and sling mud at NBC, like they’ve done to her.

  2. Great post, Jason. As you already know, I completely agree with you. They way NBC is handling this whole thing is beyond me. I think it’s obvious that Ann Curry is better than the fluff they report on daily on the Today Show, but she’s been with the show for 15 years and I think she deserves more respect than this. I hope she (er, her lawyer…) fights for the rest of her contract money, doesn’t take the foreign correspondents job that she’s reportedly been offered (to save the network money, I guess), and gets a better job on another network. Ms. Curry belongs somewhere where her amazing reporting skills, professionalism and class will be appreciated.

    • It sounds like she may be staying at NBC, but if I were one of the other nets, I’d scoop her up. She’d be perfect for a stand alone show on CNN, Fox. I even thing ABC would be good to sign her.

  3. It’s clear NBC is taking a slash and burn approach to the last two institutions it has left: the Tonight Show and the Today Show. Curious, it has taken almost the same approach to both: hire someone talented and professional with dedication to the job, fire them when ratings slide, refuse comment, leave the diva in place. It’s been asked why does the female anchor have to leave; it’s a good question and any answer shows us how woefully behind the times NBC is regarding gender roles. Matt Lauer is a bully, as evidenced by his repeated comments today after Ann Curry was hit in the face with the camera. NBC wants to secure this man’s job? At the very least, NBC’s silence is deafening and shows just how out of touch they are with the viewers, but more importantly, the fans. NBC forgets there are more than just 3 channels and its programming by committee (have you seen the segments the Today show airs) will soon wear what little of its tread there is left.

    • Solid points, James. NBC is a far cry from the “Must See TV” days, that’s for sure. Cable news is, essentially, king now. Even though MSNBC struggles, CNN and FNC are the two powerhouses. Ratings for FNC’s morning show have at times outperformed the Today show, even as a cabler.
      Thanks for your comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: