It's official: Ann Curry is saying goodbye to Today viewers this morning, she told USA Today in an emotional interview yesterday. It's "going to be a bit of a tough day," Curry says, but she is excited about her new role within NBC: She will lead a seven-person unit covering stories around the world, and you'll likely see her pieces on NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Rock Center, and, yes, even Today. She will also serve as a fill-in anchor, and her contract lasts "a significant amount of time" beyond just a few years, she says. But despite her excitement, the leaks surrounding her imminent departure from Today have "hurt," she adds.
She denies many of the rumors—her chemistry with Matt Lauer is just fine, thank you—and says she doesn't think she was given enough time to work out the "kinks" of her first year as co-host. NBC News President Steve Capus implies that low ratings are behind the changes, but adds that the new position is a better fit for Curry. No official word on her replacement, but reports still say it's Savannah Guthrie. And, of course, there are more juicy rumors: The New York Post claims Today's Natalie Morales is threatening to leave if she's passed over for the job (she was already passed over once, when Curry replaced Meredith Vieira). And the National Enquirer chimes in with the reason it says Morales will be passed over yet again: There are longstanding rumors that Lauer fathered one of her kids, and the tabloid claims Lauer's wife threatened divorce if he pushed for Morales as co-host. (Read more Ann Curry stories.)