Want to know why the New York Times ran a long piece painting a critical look at NBC “Today” co-anchor Ann Curry?
Look no further than Brian Stelter‘s latest story, which reports that NBC is negotiating with Curry to step aside as co-anchor of the program. No replacement was named in the piece (Savannah Guthrie has long been considered a favorite, as noted briefly in the piece), and details are sparse, but there is fire there.
Several weeks ago, network officials and Ms. Curry began to discuss a different job for her, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations, who insisted on anonymity because the matter was confidential. Those discussions have continued and are expected to be completed before NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics begins in late July.
Ms. Curry, who has not had a television agent for years, has hired a well-known attorney, Robert Barnett, to represent her in the negotiations, according to these people. It is unclear whether she has explicitly agreed to any arrangement that NBC has offered her in lieu of “Today.” But several people who know Ms. Curry say that she has been struggling with the idea of leaving the show for some time now.
Update: After speaking with two sources familiar with the move, one at NBC News and another outside of the organization, the only new information I hear is that Savannah Guthrie is indeed the favorite to replace Curry, though it was stressed to me that any sort of deal is far from finalized. While there has been general speculation for months that Curry would be moved off of the anchor chair at “Today,” I am told that the actual machinations did not actually begin until relatively recently. Matt Lauer’s role in the decision remains unclear at the moment.
One interesting sidenote: I hinted at it in a story back in April, but back when Meredith Vieira was co-anchor of “Today,” I am told that executives at NBC News put together a shortlist of people who might be potential replacements for her if and when she decided to leave. Among them was ABC “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts, who NBC execs are said to be big fans of.
Since that time, Roberts has helped lead “GMA” to a handful of ratings wins over “Today,” wins that may have accelerated NBC’s decision to move on Curry.