Ann Curry 'Torture': 'Today' Show Exit "Professional Torture" Says New Book
People say kids can be cruel but, as Ann Curry learned, so can Studio 1A.
Last June the Today show co-anchor said goodbye to America on air as she moved to reporting national and international news for various programs. While she may have seemed distraught at the time, an excerpt from Brian Stelter's new book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, gives fans a new look at what was happening off screen during that time at the Today show.
Published in the New York Times Magazine on Thursday, the excerpt describes the studios "boys' club atmosphere" and "Operation Bambi," which was the title of the plot to remove Curry from the show.
While Curry's departure was outwardly blamed on poor chemistry with co-anchor Matt Lauer and falling ratings, Stelter paints a picture of a different color. According to the author, executive producer Jim Bell orchestrated a plan to oust Curry soon after she started while also adding to the hurtful remarks made by studio staffers.
Stelter reports that soon after she entered her role as co-host, Bell launched "Operation Bambi," named so because he was told removing Curry so soon was akin to shooting Bambi.
"Operation Bambi" consisted of getting Lauer to extend his contract, forcing Curry out, and hiring Savannah Guthrie. While this was going on, Bell reportedly took to embarrassing Curry through various means.
Bell "commissioned a blooper reel of Curry's worst on-air mistakes... [and] called staff members into his office to show a gaffe she made during a cross-talk with a local station," reports Stelter.
Meanwhile one staffer stated "a lot of time in the control room was spent making fun of Ann's outfit choices or just generally messing with her." This included posting a picture of big bird and Curry in a yellow dress side by side, asking "'"Who wore it best?'"
Although low ratings were blamed on Curry, Today has made a host of changes since then, pointing to the notion that there was much more wrong with the show than the co-anchor, reports the Huffington Post.
When asked for comment on the issue, a Today spokesperson stated, "We are focused on covering several major news stories this week and producing the best show we can for our viewers, not on year-old gossip," according to the Huffington Post.