Following are excerpts from some of the commentaries that have been posted about Ann Curry’s abrupt departure from NBC’s “Today” last week.
Jon Friedman, MarketWatch: “Ann Curry … is getting thrown under the bus. By all accounts — especially those of the omnipresent New York Times — ‘Today’ is trying very hard to exile co-host Curry. The melodrama has spiraled into a full-fledged media circus. Adding to the spice, it’s occurring at a precarious time for NBC, which is worried about its hold on the morning-television sweepstakes.
“Even if you loathe Curry, you have to feel sympathy for her.”
David Hinckley, New York Daily News: “Does someone at NBC think that publicly hanging a respected 15-year veteran journalist out to dry makes for good television? It sure didn’t on Thursday, when Ann Curry’s farewell as co-host of ‘The Today Show’ made for television that was downright painful.
“For the viewer, it was uncomfortable and awkward watching Curry try to put a professional face on being thrown under the bus. For NBC, it should have been embarrassing.
“Whatever you think of Curry as a ‘Today’ co-host, and there are legitimate disagreements on that point, no one deserves this sort of slow, forced march to a public execution.”
Andrea Peyser, New York Post: “It wasn’t ‘Today.’ It was a snuff film. The ‘Today’ show yesterday didn’t just fling Ann Curry, kicking and screaming, under the bus. The folks at NBC ran her over, backed up the monster truck, and, for kicks and giggles, executed her on live TV.
“The show didn’t even display a single cheesy segment of her greatest hits, such as interviews with the Dalai Lama or Iranian chucklehead Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Or, to NBC’s distress, Curry jumping out of a plane and coming up alive … Serial killers, hookers and CBS failure Katie Couric get more respect.”
Robert Blanco, USA Today: “Savannah Guthrie is either very brave or very foolish. After all, even with the mountain of money you’d surely be offered, would you want to step into the role of ‘Today’ show co-host just one day after Ann Curry’s tearful forced exit? You’d have to know a large portion of the audience that always liked Curry, or now pities her, is primed to hate you …
“Worse yet, having watched NBC publicly throw Curry under the bus (albeit with what was most likely a very comfortable cash cushion), you’d better know that if the ratings don’t pick up, those bosses are going to put the blame on you. And good luck trying to argue that your male TV companions, Matt Lauer and Al Roker, might be equally, if not more, culpable.”
Kristi Turnquist, The Oregonian: “Watching Curry in her usual co-host seat alongside Matt Lauer Thursday and Friday morning (June 21-22) has brought to mind the clumsy way NBC handled the Conan O’Brien/Jay Leno debacle. Like them, Curry — who has roots in Oregon, and is a University of Oregon grad — is on the air, doing her job while furious speculation occurs everywhere around her. It’s been hard not to feel bad for Curry, and very easy to feel what definitely seems like chilly relations between her and Lauer on-air.
“There’s already been plenty of backlash against NBC and the ‘Today’ show for its treatment of Curry. Some have wondered why Lauer isn’t getting any blame for the show’s ratings dip, and why women co-hosts seem to get thrown under the bus more often than the guys do. Others have expressed disappointment at seeing Curry depart, because it was refreshing to see someone of her heritage — Curry is Japanese American — in this high-profile position.”