Ann Curry Tearfully Announces Her Departure from the Today Show

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Peter Kramer / NBC / NBC NewsWire

(left to right) Al Roker, Ann Curry, Matt Lauer, Natalie Morales, Grace Fuehne and Steve Fuehne appear on NBC News' "Today" show

After just a year as co-anchor of the Today show, Ann Curry announced Thursday morning that she’s giving up her seat on the couch, effective today. Curry, who’s worked on the show for more than 15 years, tearfully said, “This is not the way I expected to leave.” Flanked by her co-hosts who offered words of praise and support, Curry primarily thanked her fans. “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,” she said.

“After all these years I don’t even know if I can sleep in anymore,” she joked. Before accepting the co-anchor chair last year, she was the show’s news anchor for 14 years. In her goodbye statement, she explained that she would be taking a new job within the NBC News division. She’ll still appear on Today as an “anchor at large” and will file reports for a number of other NBC programs, including Rock Center and Dateline. It was a role that, according to the New York Times, was offered to Curry more than a month ago as NBC took steps to transition Curry out of the co-anchor chair.

While Curry refrained from explaining the reasons for her departure, NBC’s ratings have taken a hit with her in the co-anchor seat next to Matt Lauer. In mid-April, for the first time in 16 years, the Today show lost its top spot to ABC’s Good Morning America, and the two shows have continued to trade off the #1 morning show spot in the weeks since.

NBC did not say who would fill Curry’s anchor chair, but speculation in recent weeks has pointed to Savannah Guthrie, currently NBC News’ chief legal analyst and co-host of the 9 a.m. hour on Today. On Thursday’s show Curry’s former team, including Al Roker and Natalie Morales, skipped their normal stroll around Rockefeller Plaza after their 8 a.m. hour finished. The cameras cut, perhaps tellingly, to Guthrie in the studio for the start of the 9 a.m. hour.