Today Show Will No Longer Serve Curry

Savannah Guthrie has big yellow pumps to fill and she must be acutely aware of the delicate tightrope she now walks while the NBC buzzards circle overhead. NBC announced earlier today that Guthrie will replace Ann Curry as Today co-host, and Guthrie sat awkwardly this morning on the Today couch next to Matt Lauer and the gang after Curry was unceremoniously publicly executed on national television on Thursday.

Curry, long the scapegoat for Today’s ratings slips, made it crystal clear among tears and sobs that her departure was not of her making saying, “This is not the way I expected to leave.” Like many loyal Today viewers, I choked on my morning cup of Joe while I painfully watched America’s big sister be handed a cigarette and blindfold. True, the ratings are not what they were after Meredith Vieira packed her bags, and her sass, just over a year ago, but to blame Curry for the plummet in ratings is shortsighted. Curry was clearly not the ratings killer that the NBC suits would have you believe. The plunge in ratings after Vieira’s departure only proves that she had a loyal viewership despite the glib and arrogant Lauer. Vieira had the balls to hold Lauer by his, a task the sincere and professional Curry simply wasn’t up to. Yet, Curry was the one who got axed rather than Lauer, whose following is receding quicker than his hairline.

To use a phrase made popular by Today’s News Reader, Natalie Morales, “here’s what’s trending.” General consensus among those who left comments on Today’s Facebook page is that Lauer did Curry something dirty and while he may not have actually stabbed her, he certainly held the knife she fell on. During Curry’s four-minute soul-baring farewell, viewers noticed an irritated Lauer lean in to give Curry the kiss of death as she clumsily tried to shield herself from his embrace, as if it wasn’t awkward enough to watch Lauer casually sling his arm across the back of the couch just stopping short of pissing on the throw-pillows to stake his territory.

While some have ridiculed Curry for her blubbering four-minute farewell, I cannot think of a better way for her to exit. She was honest, raw and sincere, attributes we have all come to admire from Curry. True to form, Curry once again exhibited her trademark bravery and grace she typically reserves for her reports from war zones when she gave NBC the finger as she recounted her flawless credentials. She looked dead into the camera lens and told viewers, “You are why I have ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped out of planes and off of bridges and climbed mountains and landed in the South Pole and convinced the Dalai Lama to come live in our studio.”

But where was the big fanfare? The video synopsis of a near-perfect 15-year tenure with Today? As one person so astutely commented on Today’s Facebook page, “Meredith Vieira got a four-hour farewell, I went to the kitchen for coffee and Ann Curry was gone.” And that’s the rub, Vieira got the bash of a lifetime while Curry simply got bashed. Next to Curry’s earnestness and nerdy charm, Lauer seemed smug and disingenuous and Curry simply didn’t have Vieira’s brass, or the girlish pep of Katie Couric to counterbalance Lauer’s ego—cue Guthrie.

A lawyer by training, Guthrie seems fresh out of the sorority house and may not have the prowess to navigate this sinking ship safely to harbor. Sure, she’s cute and bubbly, but she sometimes comes off ditsy and won’t likely possess the personality to keep Lauer in check. I for one will not tune in to see the-girl-next-door date raped by Lauer each weekday morning.

I tuned-in to Today this morning expecting some sort of explanation for yesterday’s shenanigans, and when it became apparent an explanation was not to be had, I changed the channel for the first time in 15 years. I scarcely remembered that my TV has other channels, but I landed on CBS. And, while CBS’s This Morning is more sober and stoic than its counterpart on NBC, it just felt right. After the public disgracing of one of America’s most beloved journalists—America’s big sister—I felt more sober and stoic.


No comments: