Ann Curry confirmed what had been long-rumored on Thursday morning (June 28) when she announced her departure from the "Today" show as its co-anchor.
Trying not to cry, and with Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Natalie Morales by her side, she sat on the show's famous couch and opened up about her exit. "This is not easy to say, but today is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host of 'Today.' I will still be a part of the 'Today' show family, but I'll have a new title and a new role, and this is not how I expected to ever leave this couch after 15 years. But I am so grateful, especially to all of you who watch. Everyone who sits on this couch, we often call ourselves a family, but you are the real 'Today' show family."
Curry will now carry the new title of anchor-at-large and NBC News national/international correspondent.
"They're giving me some fancy new titles, which essentially mean I get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing," Curry said. "We're gonna go all over the world and all over this country at a time when this country and this world needs clarity. We're gonna do great work, I hope, and we're being given the chance to do the work that most of us went into journalism to do."
Toward the end of her goodbye speech, Curry addressed all the chatter that had been circulating that she did not live up to expectations when she stepped into the co-host role last year, replacing Meredith Vieira. "After all of these years, I don't even know if I can sleep in anymore. I'm not even sure that I can, but I know whatever time I wake up I'll be missing you and I will be believing in you. I love all of you," she said. "For all of you who saw me as groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line. Man, I did try and so to all of you who watched thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me touch yours."
It was at that point that Lauer stepped in with his last words for his soon-to-be former co-host. "I'll say something we've said a thousand times, you have the biggest heart in the business," he said. "No, you put it on display every single day in this studio and you have for almost 20 years on this show. The way you care about people comes through in every single story you report. You made us better and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
Curry addressed her exit on Wednesday in an interview with USA Today, noting that it's "going to be a bit of a tough day." "I don't know who has been behind the leaks, but no question they've hurt deeply," she said of the speculation that had been floating around the Internet ahead of Thursday's formal announcement, adding that she didn't think her one-year tenure as a co-host was enough for her to work out the "kinks."
"You know, Matt and I have had great on-air chemistry for 14 years, been part of the #1 winning team for a history-making number of years," she said. "That said, I just finished my freshman year as co-host. In every single co-host's first year, there have been kinks to be worked out, and perhaps I deserve as much blame for that as anyone.
"I have called the co-host job at the 'Today' my dream job, and I would be lying if I said it was easy to leave that job... In my secret heart of hearts, I see this as a thrilling opportunity. To have a ticket to every big story in the world — no small matter."
The New York Times reports that "Today" correspondent Savannah Guthrie is in negotiations to fill Curry's spot alongside Lauer.