As expected, Today co-host Meredith Vieira will leave the NBC
morning show on June 8 and will be replaced by Today
news anchor Ann Curry, NBC News confirmed Monday. The announcement was made on
the Today show Monday morning.
"[A]fter months of personal reflection and private conversations between
my family and my friends, I've decided to leave Today
in June," Vieira said on the show. "I really hope to stay in the NBC
family, that is my goal, it just won't be sitting at the couch every day."
Today 9 a.m. anchor Natalie
Morales will succeed Curry as news anchor, and NBC News White House
Correspondent Savannah Guthrie will be a co-host of the third hour of Today. Matt Lauer will remain in the co-host spot
"We are confident the new anchor
team will carry the Today torch, and
Matt, Ann, Al and Natalie will each further thrive in their roles," said
NBC News President Steve Capus in a statement. "We are so lucky to have
the strongest, deepest bench in the industry, and that has allowed us to grow
Vieira will continue to have a presence at NBC News, in a new role to be
announced in the coming months. Capus said during a press conference that
Vieira has a ticket back to report for Today anytime she wants, but that the
network is exploring other projects for her as well.
"We love what Meredith has done at NBC News over the years
and none of us want that to end and we're trying to figure out the right way to
make that happen," Capus said.
"If there's a way for me to stay here, that is where my
heart will be," Vieira added.
Vieira joined Today in 2006, taking over for
Katie Couric when she left to anchor the CBS Evening
News (a gig she confirmed
April 29 that she will leave). Vieira had been considering an exit since
January for personal reasons, she said at a press conference Monday morning.
She chose to leave in June because her son and daughter graduate that month and
wanted to be able to spend more time with them.
Lauer dismissed a question during the
press conference about the speculation that he, too, was preparing for an exit
from Today. He reiterated the fact
that he has a long-term contract with NBC and said the question of his
departure was "not even worth talking about now."
"I'm going be here for a while, you're going to get tired of
asking that question," he said.
As for the other rumors that he was considering joining his
former Today co-host Couric on
her syndicated talk show project, Lauer admitted they had discussed it, but
that nothing came of the talks.
"I will not say we didn't talk. Katie and I did speak,"
Lauer said. "We certainly spoke about the possibility but we've spoken about a
lot of possibilities over the years. It turned into just talk and that's where
we left it."
Curry has been the news anchor at Today
for 14 years, and Lauer pointed out during the press conference this morning
that the two have co-hosted Today
together many times over their tenures at the show. But any shakeup to the
top-rated morning news show comes with risk. Today
is the most profitable news program on television, and has stretched its
ratings winning streak to more than 800 consecutive weeks.
Also, as a result of the move of
Guthrie from Washington to New York to host Today's
third hour, she will no longer co-anchor her MSNBC show The Daily Rundown, which also airs at 9 a.m. Chuck Todd will
continue to host the show solo; it is not yet determine if he will get a new
co-anchor. "We'll figure that out," Capus said. "We're still working on
NBC News will also replace Guthrie as White House
correspondent, with an announcement on that hire hopefully coming before
Guthrie jumps to Today in early June,
says Capus. Though the organization likes to promote from within (as evidenced
by today's announcement) Capus said they would consider going outside NBC News
for the right person.