Following the awkward demotion of Ann Curry over the summer and the failure by Today to rebound in the ratings in the aftermath, NBC today announced another shakeup for the once-dominant morning show. Alexandra Wallace, executive producer of Rock Center With Brian Williams, will take over the reins (officially as Executive in Charge), becoming the first woman ever to steer the franchise. She quickly named veteran producer Don Nash to replace Jim Bell, who had been executive producer for seven years and reportedly was responsible for Curry’s ouster.
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The Today show says Al Roker and Matt Lauer have jokingly bantered about throwing someone “under the bus” at least 27 times over the past two years.
Why does that matter? Because the most recent time Roker said it, on Thursday, it was widely interpreted as a dig against his own show for the way it removed co-host Ann Curry less than two months ago.
Lauer was speaking with members of the U.S. women’s rowing team and its tradition of throwing the coxswain in the water after winning a race, and he joked that in New York it would mean a toss into the Hudson River. Roker said it was different than Today tradition, “which is to throw one of us under the bus.”
Roker’s colleagues appeared taken aback, but spokeswoman Megan Kopf said it was not a reference to Curry, pointing to the frequency of “under the bus” banter.
Savannah Guthrie officially made her debut as the new co-anchor of the Today show this morning, replacing Ann Curry.
Matt Lauer welcomed her to the program, and reminded everyone that Guthrie had been with Today for several years, recently co-anchoring the third hour and serving as the chief legal correspondent. Guthrie told viewers –after the announcer repeated her name –that it was “a thrill and an honor to be here.”
Lauer said he was happy to have her around because Guthrie brings “a great attitude and what we like to call a weird sense of humor.”
Watch video of her debut below: READ FULL STORY
UPDATED: Several hours after Savannah Guthrie took the spot next to Matt Lauer on Today Show this morning, NBC sent out an official announcement saying she will replace Ann Curry on the morning show team.
In a statement, NBC News President Steve Capus said Guthrie, Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Natalie Morales will officially debut Monday, July 9, even though the entire team was there today. This morning’s show awkwardly began without the traditional introduction of the co-hosts by the announcer; it just cut to the duo sitting at the table, talking about the Colorado wild fires. READ FULL STORY
Ann Curry’s imminent departure from the Today show may have been a shock, but her fans are pulling together and hoping for a last-minute save.
Change.org posted a petition from Sgt. Stephen Crowley asking the Today show to reconsider replacing Curry. The “About this Petition” section reads in part:
“First, I have to say that I love Ann Curry. I am an Iraq Veteran and Aspiring writer with PTSD and a 60% service connected disability. Life is not always so easy for me. I tend to struggle.
One of the things that gives me a sense of calm and certainty in life is Ann Curry’s compassionate style of journalism. I was in Iraq for ten months in 2005. That experience changed me forever. I am now very sensitive to the hurt, pain and troubles on this planet, even though I feel that I only received a very small portion of that experience.
Ann Curry’s sensitivity to the human experience telegraphs through her journalism, to me and many other fans and viewers.”
EW spoke with 49-year-old Crowley this morning about Ann Curry. He told EW that he’s a longtime fan of Curry’s work, particularly admiring her commitment to veterans. “I like her style of reporting— it really reaches me,” Crowley said. READ FULL STORY
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