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Today Show

Today my favorite morning show once again changed hosts. Did someone retire? No. Did someone get an impressive job offer from another network? No. Did someone get thrown under the bus? YES.

Not to state the obvious, but this posting is my opinion and pure speculation. Just wanted to say that.

Two weeks ago, Ann Curry announced that she was leaving the Today Show after less than one year as co-host alongside Matt Lauer. Last year, Meredith Viera left because she wanted to spend more time with her family. Around five years before that, Katie Couric left because she was offered the anchor job at CBS Evening News.

Ann Curry had been on the Today Show for 15 years reading the news and reporting stories, except for this past year. I was happy when she was promoted to co-anchor. I always found her to be friendly, warm, caring and funny. I had enjoyed her reporting and thought she would bring a wonderful presence to the Today Show sitting alongside Matt Lauer at the host’s desk and on the couch.  In my opinion she did do just that.

But, for the first time in many, many years, this past spring The Today Show dropped to second place behind Good Morning America. Not for a long time. Only for a week or so. But it did break a great winning streak. Obviously something was wrong at The Today Show.

Was it the stories being produced? Maybe. Was it the weekly segments? Maybe. Was it any of a whole myriad of problems? Maybe.

But what did the executives see as the problem? Ann Curry.

Someone “leaked” information to the press that they were considering removing Ann from the co-anchor duties as a way to restore The Today Show to the top. It was like they were softening the blow so that it wouldn’t shock the hell out of the viewers when they made the change.

When I saw the “leaked” stories, I hoped they were wrong. I knew they weren’t but I hoped they were. And, sure enough, a week ago Thursday, Ann announced that it was her last day as co-anchor of The Today Show. She said that she was being given a “fancy” new title and a staff to work with her on the top stories. That she would be given first crack at any new story coming up. She choked up while announcing this and there were hugs and kisses all around. It basically sucked. Not only for her but for those of us who really liked seeing her every day on the show.

Why did the executives do this? In my opinion, they threw her under the bus. Someone had to be blamed and they blamed her.

I do like Savanah Guthrie, who they have moved over to the co-anchor position. At least they didn’t do what they did when Jane Pauley left the show and make her say good-bye next to her younger replacement (Deborah Norville). At least they learned from that experience that it is crass to do things like that. But they didn’t learn from that experience that changing personnel doesn’t mean it will improve the ratings of the show.

The only good thing I see coming out of all this is that now Ann Curry can go back to doing what she does the very best. Reporting the news. She is an accomplished journalist who isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions or go to dangerous places in order to make us aware of the world.

I’m very disappointed in the people who run The Today Show. I will keep watching the show but it will be a while before I trust that they really know what they are doing.

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