Ann Curry bid goodbye to the “Today” show audience on Thursday, breaking into tears as Matt Lauer described his co-host as having “the biggest heart in the business.”
Curry addressed viewers as her “family,” explaining that she still would contribute to the show and with her new titles -- anchor-at-large and NBC News national/international correspondent -- would “get tickets to every story I want to tell you."
She will be covering those stories “at a time when this country, and this world needs clarity.”
It was a brief farewell, lasting roughly five minutes. The bulk of the morning program unfolded as usual, with Curry and Lauer spending the first half of "Today" covering major stories such as the Supreme Court's pending decision on the Obama administration's healthcare law and new developments in the Trayvon Martin case.
Still, Curry was visibly nervous all morning, having told the USA Today on Wednesday that she would confirm her departure from NBC’s morning show on-air the next day. Under the circumstances, small gestures, such as when guest Matthew McConaughey grasped her knee, took on added resonance.
Speculation about Curry’s imminent departure has swirled for more than a week, causing embarrassment for both Curry and NBC. Just a day after the New York Times broke the story of Curry’s likely departure, Ladies Home Journal magazine quoted the former “Dateline” host as saying, “I've been at 'Today' for 15 years and I'd love to make it to 20.”
Curry acknowledged her abrupt departure to viewers on Thursday.
“Sorry I couldn't get the ball over the finish line, but man I did try,” the anchor said.
Her co-hosts shared their favorite stories, from her coverage of American hikers in Iran to the impact of a tsunami on a Japanese family.
Curry credited the viewers to the end.
"You are why I’ve ventured into dangerous places, interviewed dictators, jumped off of bridges and mountains and landed in the South Pole," Curry said.
“I have loved you and I’ve wanted to give you the world.”
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