Did NBC drop the ball?

Capping a whirlwind week of speculation and outcry from viewers, this morning was Ann Curry‘s last as co-host of the Today show.

In a tearful farewell, Curry thanked the viewers, saying, “You are why I have ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped off of planes and bridges and climbed mountains…for all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I am sorry I couldn’t carry the ball across the finish line-but man, did I try.”

Check out her tearful farewell here.

Curry will continue to be a correspondent for NBC, and that includes coverage for Today.

Since Curry took over for the departing Meredith Vieira, ratings for the Today show have slipped, and for the first time in over 15 years, there have been days when ABC‘s Good Morning America has actually beaten Today in viewership.

That being said, I also think Curry was not right for a spot as co-host. Judging by what I see with most talk show hosts, people (or the suits, take your pick) seem to want vapid, pretty, and mindless. It is perfectly acceptable for Matt?Lauer or Katie Couric to relax and cut up when they are zip-lining or competing with gourmet chefs to see who can make the best scrambled eggs, but don’t show emotion when it comes to important matters. Just ask Anderson Cooper about the reaction to his coverage of Katrina.

I don’t think Curry could portray “vapid” if she tried. One of the reasons she became so wildly popular as an on-the-spot reporter was because she routinely exposed her humanity while maintaining an air of professionalism…a tough tightrope for any reporter to walk. She brought realism to the tragedy of murdered children or a tense standoff of detained hikers that the blond, shiny TV face could never achieve.
But when it comes to sitting in the host’s chair, her humanity was sadly out of place.

So did NBC drop the ball? I guess you could say yes and no. From a ratings standpoint, a shakeup may have a positive effect, depending on who serves as Curry’s replacement. On the other hand, NBC had the chance to allow credibility and maturity to remain on its troubled talk show, and chose another path.

They would rather leave Kathie Lee Gifford to continue sinking Today‘s reputation by mispronouncing guest names, talking over her co-host, and snorting when she laughs.

Oh yeah, and asking how your dead spouse is doing.

6 thoughts on “Did NBC drop the ball?

  1. I love the Today show and I really enjoyed Ann in her role PRIOR to becoming the host. From the beginning I really didn’t think Ann was the right choice. She was the heart of the show.. not the host. I just think this was a matter of the wrong person for the role. Nothing bad against her at all..

  2. I think Ann was a perfectly nice presence, but I never enjoyed watching her take a “lead” role on the show. I always felt it was too heavy for her, and she performed better in the sidelines. I don’t believe she’s the sole reason for the dip in ratings however, and I’m sure NBC needed a scapegoat. We shall see if Savannah Guthrie is any better. Oh, and Ann’s new job seems like a mighty fine upgrade to me. I find it hard to feel sorry for her when she’s making far more money than I’d ever dream of. And finally, let’s not forget this gem: http://youtu.be/9__i8mx8A80

  3. I agree that Ann was probably not the best choice for co-host. There are many examples of her– throughout her 15 years on “Today”–stumbling on words, losing her place on the teleprompter, etc. But it is this flawed, unapologetic, human side of her that viewers liked to see. She put herself out there and people accepted her wholeheartedly–with the exception of NBC executives. It is the very qualities that people liked in Ann that made her an easy scapegoat for NBC’s declining ratings. What is the most obvious change to Today in the last year? It couldn’t possibly be the drama surrounding the contract talks and possible departure of Matt Lauer. And I know it definitely had nothing to do with Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb and their mindless, intoxicated chatter. Maybe if Kathie Lee had a few less cocktails she could find the time to research her guests and ask informed questions about celebrities and their deceased spouses. It seems more likely that the Today Show’s ratings are declining because their “news” is little more than watered-down, sensationalistic stories that are devoid of any objective, journalistic integrity. So Ann–if this is the standard that the Today Show has set for its anchors and on-air personalities, I say, “Good riddance and best wishes as you continue to fight the good fight and cover the tough stories that really mean something to us as viewers and most importantly; human beings.”

  4. I was disappointed that she was given the post in the first place. During the time when she was a news anchor and did occassional interviews, I was frustrated with the way in which she would interrupt the guests and editorialize about what they were saying. I sent several angry emails to the Today show telling them to tell her to shut up!

    She seems like a very nice person and when it comes to the hardcore news, she delivers as a correspondant. I am glad she is returning to that role.

  5. I’m a little lost on this Ann Curry thing. Everybody is treating this event and her like it’s some tragedy. For god’s sake, she’s getting $10 million to go away, stay home and eat Bon-bons. Pardon me if I don’t shed tears. I like her but I think we’ve generally lost touch with reality. Wow.

  6. I am VERY disappointed with NBC. Personally, I just LOVED Ann’s grace and calmness in the mornings. If they want to improve ratings, give Lauer the the ax. As a gay male, I also thought she was very beautiful inside and out.

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