Ann Curry TODAY Show, NBC Will NOT Let Her Out Of Contract For CNN Gig

Ann Curry is being sought by CNN to replace Anderson Cooper in an 8pm time slot next year but NBC will not let her out of her contract, according to a report.

Jeff Zucker, who is slated to helm CNN Worldwide in January, 2013, has his eyes on recruiting Curry as an anchor to help boost ratings for the cable network.

Zucker is confident in Curry because she has solid experience. The pair have worked together before. Zucker is the former executive producer of "Today" and was a one-time figure head at NBC Universal. 

"Jeff wants a headliner like Rachel Maddow or Bill O'Reilly in prime time," a source told Page Six. "He cannot allow the low ratings at CNN to continue . . . so he can't hire a nobody. Curry fits that CNN-smarty-pants-foreign-affairs type." Zucker would "package (Curry's) experience as a news anchor for 14 years at NBC with the sympathy that's remained out there for her after the way the 'Today' show treated her," the source added.

The plan to bring Curry to a prime-time slot were diminished, however, after her attorney was told by NBC that they would not let her out of her contract. 

"Ann would love to enter formal talks to explore the opportunity of working at CNN for Jeff Zucker, but NBC has told her lawyer that the Peacock network won't let her out of her contract," a source told Radar Online. "It's a frustrating situation for Ann because she has been at NBC for over 15 years, but she is basically just being kept in the background, and not being utilized," the insider added.

An NBC rep confirmed Curry's contractual obligations. "Ann Curry is under contract with NBC News," the rep told Page Six.

Cooper presently anchors the 8pm time slot Zucker has in mind for Curry. Zucker's plans for the silver-haired CNN anchor would involve transitioning him into a "Christiane Amanpour (type of) role" as traveling correspondent, the Page Six report also revealed.

A CNN rep has responded to the claim telling Page Six that "there is no shortage of rumors about what Jeff will do. He doesn't start until late January, and any speculation at this point is just silly."

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