Waking Up on the Wrong Side of a Ratings War

How a toxic clash of personalities cost NBC’s “Today” its No. 1 ranking. Matt Lauer may yet lead the show back to the top spot, but the morning is tougher now than ever.

Comments: 204

  1. I've found all the morning shows particularly annoying, but I always thought the weakest link on Today was Matt Lauer and not his co-hosts.

    Pat Fili-Krushel is an amazingly talented television executive (I remember her fondly from her daytime television days). I think if she is actually given half a chance, she could remake Today into something I might want to see tomorrow. But I think a new family is needed on air. This one is just way too dysfunctional to last much longer.

    Where's Dave Garroway when you need him? And Frank Blair? Hugh Downs? Or Barbara Walters? The current crew is just plain wrong, and it isn't even a pale imitation of what Today once was. Sigh...

  2. Makes me think of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." 'The horror! The horror.'

  3. Ann Curry is all class and Today doesn't deserve her. Let her go to GMA and succeed.

  4. NO, keep her away from GMA!

  5. I enjoy a quiet morning. A nice little breakfast, a little reading, enjoying the sunrise, and maybe a little music. America should try that. You won't miss the advertisements and the interviews with victims and heroes. This drama and the race to be number one is a distraction from the pleasures of the morning.

  6. 10-4 on that maybe NPR for decent news - the " info-tainment " industry in the AM is a DRAG !!

  7. Morning shows are completely horrible.

    I stopped watching Today years and years ago after they aired a new 'feature' about wedding planning, with the audience choosing the dress, honeymoon location and other nonsense.

    Today is like reliving the 1980's and all the Reagan 'sunshine' that was unreal to say the least. Phoney, silly, embarrassing.

    Why is intelligence, wit, and real news so hard to do? Just look at CBS's Sunday Morning. Now, that's a great morning show.

  8. I agree on Sunday Morning on CBS. For weekday morning viewers who seek intelligent discussion form prominent members of the media and of leaders in government and the corporate world, Morning Joe on MSNBC stands heads and shoulders above anything else on broadcast or cable.

  9. Yup. I'll stick to the Weather Channel. Bonus Al Roker, without the Lauer!

  10. Another disgusting corporate tale of powerful men ganging up to bully and isolate a woman they found threatening to their own sense of power and entitlement. I don't feel a lot of pity for Ann Curry, who played their game herself for as long as she could, but what this article describes is pure harassment on the job. I don't know why these guys were so wedded to Lauer; the few times I've watched him on-air, I thought he was a nasty creep with an outsize ego. Give the whole show to Meredith Vieira if she wants it and let her choose a compatible co-anchor, male or female.

  11. I don't know that I buy the sexism angle. After all, it was a guy who got fired from the Tonight Show, under circumstances that were vaguely similar. This is just the typical corporate backstab. I think anyone who's worked in one of those places has seen it and in my experience, anyway, its victims are both women and men.

  12. Perhaps you are unaware that Meredith Vieira's husband Richard, has advanced MS. She left Today, because of the stress getting up at 3 AM every day with a seriously ill family member to consider, was no longer possible. They face a situation all too common in too many families.

    Richard M Cohen wrote a moving book a couple of years ago about finding out he had a chronic illness, and living with it - "Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir" I highly recommend it.

  13. Ann, I'm so, so sorry how they humiliated you. This article shows that you endured far more than I ever imagined adults could do to another person. It is unforgivable. Their behavior is so shameful and repulsive. All those people at NBC who knew and did nothing--I just don't want to know you. We are not watching any more. Done.

    Ann, you are a wonderful reporter and human being. You conducted yourself with strength, poise and gentleness. I look forward to seeing your work in the future. You did nothing to deserve this--and I hope you find your way to your next post where you will be completely happy and valued. You deserve only happiness and respect.

  14. First of all Ann was the best dressed woman host ever on the today show. Second, I've switched to the CBS morning show. NBC has shaken Ann's heart and soul. Her recent brief interview with a victim was serious, without warmth and empathy as if she was trying to correct what she's been criticized for. I loved Ann Curry and I still do. I wish some station would pick her up and let her be who she really is. Smart, warm, and stunningly beautiful!

  15. An increased focus on celebrity gossip: Is that morning TV under discussion or the Times itself, as exemplified by this very story? How meta can you get?

  16. It was interesting that Katie Couric of all people - thought Ann Curry was a fake. Kettle calling Teapot Black ?

    I am not surprised that Matt Lauer was indifferent to Ann Curry leaving ... as I thought he was a 'fake' from the start.

  17. Read it again, it was Curry who thought Couric was "fake" while Curry was filling in for Couric.

    Of course Lauer was/is fake, they're all "fake!" The show is an Entertainment vehicle that includes news as a part of it.

    The show is there to promote NBC shows, just like all media is there to promote the other dayparts (sections) of the medium. (Look at the Bullseye at the back of Entertainment Weekly - the thing that most EW readers open to first- and you'll see teasers disguised as "jokes" that you'll only get when you've read the story within the magazine.)

    Why should Lauer not want Curry gone? She was busting up the formula, and not because she was some visionary, but because she was a bull in a China shop. Would Olivier be expected to be other than indifferent if they took Kathy Griffin out as Ophelia?

    Ann Curry was "Lucy in the Chocolate Factory" bad at that job. Matt tried to play his part but Ann wasn't professional enough to pull it off.

  18. "Producers said Couric thought Curry was melodramatic and, in a word that one used, 'fake.' "

    @Dredpiraterobts, I think you are going to have to read it again, the above quote is copied directly from the article ...

  19. Steve,
    You nailed bud. Yes sir. Couric is one of the most fake & phony TV personalities of all times.

  20. An excellent piece of reporting Mr. Stelter but in the end, other than the bean counters at NBC, who really cares ??

  21. Yes, but you read it too.

  22. We care because it is enjoyable to see false icons exposed for what they really are: FAKE. The “first family” of television, so wholesome and all-American, and they are no better than the kooky dysfunctional people we see in our daily life. And certainly, a lot worse than many of the honest, hard-working we are and know.

  23. A corporation projects an image of 'family' to viewers while really being competitive, callous, and impersonal? Naw, can't believe it.

  24. Curry may not have been the right person for the job but Bell sounds like a piece of work. Since he denies every allegation made by disparate people he also lacks credibility.

  25. Give the show to Louis C.K. and let's move on.

  26. Ann Curry was painful to watch even before she became the host. In business, no one gets 'a turn'. You earn it.

  27. Agree. Ann was very painful to watch, especially her pushy, forced "empathy." ( Equally discomfiting on NBC weekends, the self-absorbed Jenna Wolfe.) I've switched to CBS on weekdays for the first hour of news only.

  28. Yes, so I guess losing $50M in annual income means that Jim Bell "earned" the right to stay on as the Olympics head producer and Steve Burke "earned" the privilege of remaining CEO of NBC Universal? And how is the PR fallout they created good "business"?

  29. How many words on a television news war? Too many for me to read. Is this truly worth the space it's given? The anchor people have become the news, and that's shameful, especially for the NY Times.

  30. These people are set up as some kind of iconic “family”, and lionized by millions across the country, particularly in middle America. That the Today show is some kind of must-see morning television, when it is an absolute waste of electrons with its sensation, phoniness and vapidity. It is good to see that they are just a bunch of squabbling, vain, mean-spirited losers; the Today show indeed has clay feet.

    Thus, this article is more a cultural commentary than a critique of TV "news".

  31. I'll be the first to comment - this is all about fluff, and who cares? Actually though, Ann Curry has a deeper and more resonant voice than most female broadcasters, which made her very easy to listen to and comprehend.

  32. Yes!! So true. And don't get me started on the women at NPR whose voices rise at the end of each question as though they are insecure teens.

  33. I don't think I've ever read a story that has so many additions of "(XXX denied that this conversation took place.)" What a weird article.

  34. I loved that aspect of the article. After a while, it became funny, and it made a point. The reporter presented the facts as accurate and then said they were being denied. Part of the dysfunction at Today is that everyone denies, obfuscates and lies.

  35. I'm not really qualfied to comment on this because I haven't watched any of these morning shows in over a decade. I start my day by going onto the NYTimes,then move around the internet picking up stories that interest me; almost none of them are fashion-related,or about recent murders, or the never-ending sports team romance novel.Now that I've read about TV backstage over-thought machinations, I am really turned off. I picked up the horrible news about the Boston marathon and then went to several other sources of news: twitter,Face book (which is really sliding into the silly romance category), texting friends, talking to friends, back to the Times, Huffington Post, PBS,NPR and then, amazingly I sat down on my lunch hour and read a poem of Shelley's just to make me realize there is still such a thing as civilized thought. You can't "can" the news anymore. ("Project Bambi"?) It spills over into your programming and makes it feel like a reality show instead of a news program, which you probably wouldn't mind anyway, as long as you "beat" the competition. The whole idea of news seems to be the furthest thing from your minds. I guess you're having fun trying to "beat" the other team,but how on earth does any of this include me, the audience?

  36. This guy Bell seems like a real creep, as evidenced by the following passage:

    "On Friday, April 13, he stopped by Curry’s dressing room as she packed for a vacation in California, and told her, [']"We need to talk as soon as you get back.[']”

    Putting Friday, the 13th, aside, who tells an employee before she goes on a 2 week vacation, that "we need to talk" when she gets back?

    I bet Ann had a real good time in Cali!

  37. Yes, that line resonnated with me, too. I had a jerk boss do that to me once - I insisted instead that we talk now. Hardly would be a vacation with that hanging over your head.

  38. Those of us in more humble condition who wake up and weep for our lost jobs know how Curry feels but somehow find it hard to boo-hoo for her. And we're too busy trying to patch together our souls and keep them attached to our bodies to care about a TV star who appeared only six times in one year ...

  39. It's like all business, cold, callous, full of politics and focused on the bottom line.

  40. I've never watched morning television, and certainly won't start after reypading this piece. But I have one comment: after all of these pages, I still don't know exactly how Curry was told she was off the show, nor do I know what happened on her final day. Vague references are made to a 'teary' goodbye, but it might have been nice to actually describe what happened. As someone who doesn't watch these shows, I didn't know anything about this incident - and after reading this lengthy article, I still don't. It seems that an assumption was made that everyone in the world would be intimately familiar with the incident. Not a good assumption.

  41. The teary goodbye was right on TV for all to see, and it was embarrassing for Ann and for the rest of the team, beyond awkward, and it played on the internet for awhile, you could find it if you do a search, a debacle if there ever was one. Whose fault I don't know. But it looked bad.

  42. Thanks, Patricia. I'm sure I won't bother to look at it, but my point was that a journalistic article should actually describe this kind of incident that's part of the essential detail of the series of incidents surrounding this woman's departure. Even in articles about the 9/11 attacks, there is a synopsis of the key incidents of the day, and of course we all DO know those details. Morning television is a meaningless blip for most people, so an actual description of the event seems necessary.

  43. Matt Lauer has always come across as smarmy and bland. Never understood why they chose him of all the men in America. Maybe that's what the genius honchos/suits think we want/they need. I was no Ann fan but the way they got rid of her was humiliating and his seeming lack of compassion as she cried probably hit a nerve among many. Esp. Among women. Don't mess with us women NBC!

  44. The problem is Matt. His sophomoric chauvinism sets the tone. He is hideously pompous toward women. I don't know how Savannah can endure him.

  45. I know how: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  46. I know how; she is an opportunistic airhead who has just enough smarts to know that if the media genre in which she is employed did not exist she would be in the pre-employment queue at the next WalMart grand opening.

  47. @nylonder: Actually, Savannah Guthrie is an attorney. I had low expectations of her, but she has proven to be a smart, aggressive, skilled interviewer. She should move to CBS, where the morning show is much more substantive. Since the Boston marathon bombing, I've been tuning in to CBS every morning to get the latest report from John Miller. A former FBI employee, he has excellent sources and adds actual news content to the morning TV wasteland.

  48. Does anyone actually watch any of these shows with their longwinded, incessant, jabbering. Are they paid by the word to annoy us? Even if they announce what sounds like an interesting story it is never the next one. One has to suffer through segment after segment of inane chatter sprinkled between the commercials. My take on this is who cares who works on the show.I t's still not worth watching.

  49. No, nobody watches them! That's why advertisers spend millions of dollars to run their ads there... Because that way they can be sure nobody sees them.

  50. She was tough to watch. She always seemed to lack on-air confidence and was often overly serious in her delivery. Whenever she came on I changed the channel; really, it was painful for me to watch her. That aside, meanness and ridicule have no place in the workplace anywhere and maybe it was best she left NBC. Her yellow dress, comparisons to Big Bird, a snarky sheet put up by staff asking Today employees to vote on, `Who wore it best?' You wouldn't have to fire me from that pathetic junior high crowd: I'd leave on my own.

  51. After reading about 3 pages I realized I really don't care that much. It sounds like a soap opera version of Macbeth. And I find it hard to cry for millionaires.
    The real reason I switched from Today was Charlie Rose appearing on the competition. I hope he can avoid having to bake cakes, hold ferrets, and doing all the silly stuff Matt Lauer does.

  52. I agree. I either listen to NPR or watch CBS now that Charlie Rose is there. George S. and Robin Roberts are likeable but the programming is way to much fluff for me.

  53. ITCH - It's the content honey. I don't object to news. BTW, I might return if NBC stops pushing the Duggars!

  54. or the Kardashians or any number of so called celebrities,

  55. was this worth the space. The show is fluff except for the first few minutes. The few interviews with real newsmakers get to Morning Joe on MSNBC. Lauer is fine. Grown-up. Curry was very annoying in her emotionalism and other mannerisms. This is not sexist: loved Walters, Pauley, Couric, Vierra. Guthrie is very accomplished and I miss her at nine on MSNBC. Today should try to be more high brow than GMA, even though I liked George S on Sunday mornings.

  56. This story reveals in great detail how the behind the scenes culture at NBC fuels the rivalries and negative behavior that have long been apparent, since the Bryant Gumble days even, at the Today show. So counterproductive and unnecessary. The silver lining is Charlie Rose and Gayle King at CBS. The right mix of news, celebrity, humor and polite dignity. I will not turn back to the today show until this mess is fixed.

  57. NBC arrogance and the ego play of 'the boys club' cast aside the only reason to watch today and nbc. A classic case of cranial-rectal inversion. Dumping mat lauer will not help and the sugary savannah guthrie as his foil only adds to the downward spiral.

  58. Watch Imus on Fox Business channel. He understands the phoniness/fluff of these other morning happy-talk soap operas, and he and his group cover all the news with realism and dollops of humor where it is needed to puncture pretension. It is the only true real news morning show.

  59. Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira were funny/snarky and held Matt Lauer in bemused contempt. This show went downhill when he became the big dog. It's true that Ann Curry doesn't have the personality of either Katie or Meredith, but Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales are dreck. I've jumped to CBS.

  60. Time for Matt to go, don't like his interview style, and did like Anne's, enjoyed her outfits, thought she was more interesting, Matt's interview style was too aggressive and entitled, he pushed too hard , was annoying. I think the network should settle this with Anne, in good faith, to try to save face and repair what mistakes they have made, they need to offer her a real job, for the remaining part of her contract, or let her out, and publicize it, so that all can move on, it is damaging them I think, financially and in every which way, to continue to hold her hostage, and not allow her to find other employment. Not about money, she wants to work, she should be able to work. As for Savannah, I think she is tainted by the whole business, and it may be too hard for people to accept her, I really did view her as "the other woman" when she came on, hard to lose that, especially when they are sitting together, should avoid them being together as much as possible. Wow who is running that show, no one, doesn't take a genius to know that they really messed up, deserve whatever they got right now. I do like Willy Geist, doesn't seem to be tainted by all of this, hope he gets in. Don't think Cooper is up for it, and think the 4 hours is ridiculous, keep it at 2, and do something else, that last 2 hours is not very impressive.They have a lot of work to do. That's what I think.

  61. When I am home in the mornings, which isn't too often, I have always watched Today. The other shows always seemed so sappy, but I have not seen the changes over the last year, so my opinion does not reflect what may have transpired in recent months on the morning shows. I always felt that, while Ann Curry was clearly a lovely woman who I would like as a neighbor, her gushing over every guest and interview made me cringe. There is a modicum of professionalism that we expect from those who deliver the news (even the light-weight variety) and she never had the gravitas necessary to do that. She was so over-the-top emotional over everything that there was no way to differentiate between the truly tragic and the simply unfortunate. I was flabbergasted when she got the anchor role and not at all surprised when she lost it. Her reported reaction is not surprising at all. Would Barbara Walters have behaved that way even for an instant? No way.

  62. Who cares? The audience which matters watches Joe, Mika, Barnicle, et al, then starts to work. Many are lone eagle types who work from their own home office operations, where they do everything from practice law to investment banking to producing major motion pictures, political consulting, etc.. The demo for Morning Joe is almost exactly congruent with who reads The Economist, the New Yorker and Wired. And if that audience is still watching television at 7:00 a.m. they are either staying with MSNBC or looking at Charlie Rose for a while. Feeding the morning audience fluff is pointless. Fewer and fewer who earn less and less going down the drain in that vortex of dirty soap suds and grease on the way to the sewer.

  63. No, there's no class warfare being waged here!

    "We rich, hardworking folks are the ones who matter. The housewife scum of this nation aren't worth considering!"

    Telluride, you say, what a shocker.

  64. If you go to doctor's offices,dental offices, or governemnt offices, you will find the morning shows on, 9 times out of 10...

  65. For my fake-folksy morning viewing, I prefer the Onion's "today NOW!" with Jim Haggerty and Tracy Gill.

  66. the only morning news show worth any time is morning edition on npr. tv morning news is stale fluff.

  67. I used to be a regular, watching the Today show, but now mostly listen to NPR in the morning and am amazed at the high quality programming on public radio. Not even comparable. (This applies to the whole broadcast cycle for public radio vs regular tv, by the way.) Today content has declined to a tacky mix of silly topics. Very little news or value. And what NBC is doing on the weekend Today show! Jenna Wolfe, who I first thought was abrasive but now appreciate as complement to Lester Holt, has been shoved into a little team of blandness; seems like a set of Mormon wives. Did NBC do this because they can't cope with Jenna? They are the losers in this; she's much more memorable than the colorless other ladies she's now teamed with. Congrats to her in her personal life, too!

  68. Get rid of Savannah Guthrie and everything else will fall into place. She is so bad, you can not move beyond the past fiasco with her as your anchor. Cut the anchor and lets go. Morales will do fine until the ship rights and Matt finally jumps off. He is toast but can not even rite the ship with Guthrie on hand. She is more than I can bare.

  69. Savannah Guthrie will stay, as she is white, blonde, perky, and the sort of fanatasy girlfriend news producers pant over...

  70. Guthrie is anything but "perky." She is terribly missed on MSNBC as a sharp, intelligent, politically savvy reporter. Top in her state on Bar Exam score, 40-something, former White House correspondent, etc. You will see Guthrie is not a blond bimbo if you did your homework instead of responding just like some of the men being criticized on the Today Show.

  71. sounds like the worst of suburban junior high school, with the jocks & cheerleaders running things, & everyone else being bullied into conformity.

  72. In television, ratings fall like a rock and climb at glacial speed. Change takes time and patience. What needs to change more than anything else is content. The hosts are important, but peripheral to the content. The best hosts with the worst content will not succeed.

    Today has too much mayhem, too much cooking (of food that most people will never eat) and not enough reality.

    The best days are those when the news overwhelms and everything else disappears.

  73. What is apparent in the telling of this is the simple respect and affection family, even a family that occasionally fights, has for each other. Instead of belittling and insulting ones 'family member' behind their back, the person should at minimum have the decency to have a private coversation with the other family memeber to try and encourage the kind of chemistry that makes evryone in the family succeed. The huge ego, and pompous behavior of the leading character in all this split the family when it was his job to make the chemistry, and allow his own career to succeed. As the Bible says, "You Reap what you have sown", and the whole stinking mess is where it is now because all the players forgot that there was many a competitor ready, willing and eager to take over from them at the smallest opportunity. Today didn't hand GMA a small opportunity, they threw open the flood gates and invited the flood in. The show fails because everyone involved deserved to fail. The petty back biting, maneuvering and spiteful behavior killed the golden goose from the top executives on down. I have no pity for any of them.

  74. Just more evidence that what we really need in this country is a maximum wage!

  75. I am not a morning television watcher by any stretch. I had, however, seen Ann Curry on occasion over the years, when family or friends were visiting and the shows would be on.

    I never got any "warm fuzzies" from watching her. I found her manner stilted, forced, disingenuous.

    It really doesn't make a rat's to me who is hosting these shows. I think that she was a detriment to "Today" while she was there, though, and I think that they did the right thing to replace her.

  76. I missed Ann Curry's last day on Today because I thought it was going to be a Friday, not a Thursday. No matter. Once Ann was gone, so was I having switched to CBS This Morning. I am thankful because it is a much better show. I came to realize that the primary reason why I was watching Today was because of Ann. .... and I loved her outfits; for a woman of her age (she's now 56), she could model.

  77. "Couric thought Curry was melodramatic and, in a word that one used, “fake.” " Haven't laughted that hard in a while. The fact that these host consider themselves journalists is comical.

  78. Hello pot! Hello kettle!

    Do these people have any idea of how real people see them?

  79. I recall I time when the producers of the Today Show got the bright idea to feature shots of Couric's legs -- in high heels and short skirts. [This has evolved into high (or low) art form with Koda and Kathie Lee.]

    I remember thinking how pathetic that a "news" show would parade its woman anchor like that; and how pathetic a dude must be to look to tune in for such pleasures.

    Say what you will about Ms. Curry, but she was aways attired appropriately.

  80. Who can save the Today Show? Alec Baldwin. He has been swimming in the NBC shark pool for a number of years, is a guaranteed tabloid sensation, and he is VERY intelligent - the perfect Today Show combo meal!

  81. That's actually a really smart idea!

  82. Interesting idea.....

    Baldwin's podcast on WNYC (Here's the Thing), wherein he is the interviewer, are fantastic. He's smart, funny, and every one of them is a gem.

    I just wish he had time to do more of them.

  83. He was also good in "Married to the Mob" until he got killed.

  84. I found the coda to the article interesting. Despite what Meredith told Matt, it is not going to blow over. The audience has issued its opinion, and that's not coming back—at least not while he's there. Willie Geist? Is that a joke?

  85. Spoiled brats from start to finish

  86. Never liked Lauer, maybe the hair cut. I don't know. Don't like Brian Williams much either.

  87. Interesting that a show whose audience is predominantly female is produced and managed by guys who have such a firm idea of how women should present themselves and what other women expect. My dad was totally in love with Barbara Walters, my mom not so much.

    Me? When I want news in the morning, I turn on NPR or go online. Sometimes both.

  88. I know what you mean! My eyes are blinded by the glaring makeup and my back hurts just looking at the stilettos and o-so-sexy clothes. At least they're sitting down on CBS morning and when I do watch now, I turn on CBS, even though I like Matt Lauer.

  89. I turn on the TV in the morning for breaking news -- not a "happy family" gossiping. Guess that's why I choose CBS -- not that they're perfect but the best avaialble..

  90. I remember that amidst a lot of fluff and pouf there would be Ann Curry opening our eyes to a beleaguered region called Darfur.
    Soon later, when I sat home during the recession, it seemed like every time I turned on the Today Show there would be a cooking or decor demonstration, often with Ann, and it would seem out of joint somehow. Why is she fooling around with sauciers or shabby chic when HGTV has that stuff covered, I'd ask myself while changing the station.
    I wish she had had different ambitions; she would have made a helluva nightly news anchor -- and mopped the floor with Katie Couric.

    If Anderson goes to NBC I hope Ann goes to CNN!

  91. P.S,
    Ann Curry if you are reading this: PBS News Hour is in desperate need of a fresh infusion and Nightline needs someone charismatic. That would be you! It's only my humble opinion of course, but I would watch these shows each and every night!

  92. Yes... Darfur. Ann opened eyes. I appreciated her in-depth stories so much. She was decidedly out of place during cooking segments, she's made of better "stuff" than the fluff of the morning shows.

  93. The show is a joke. Enough about it!

  94. First to make fun of Ann Curry's clothes was mindboggling to me. She is stunningly beautiful and dressed incredibly -- when I read about her being mocked for her clothes I just couldn't believe it. I must either be totally without taste or this is just crazy.

    Secondly, this article and the situation it dscribes drives home to me how FAKE the whole show is and for that matter all these early morning shows are, fake, fake, fake. Especially ironic how Katy Couric calls Ann Curry Fake. I guess it takes one to know one. I do not find any of these anchors special, cannot stand their banter but have to admit they are better by far, and I am saying all of them, whatever network, than CTV in Canada where they are not only fake but incredibly hokey. I actually prefer the American shows, much more professional, notwithstanding the fakeness of the cameraderie.

    On the merits, I found nothing objectionable about Ann Curry, she was fine, professional, as good as Katy Couric and Meredith Viera -- can't see what is so great about them. Anyway, I guess I turned off to the article when I read that Matt Lauer got 25 million a year: if the others got even one half, one third, one quarter, Ann Curry included, why should they complain about anything. But I guess if one is humiliated it doen't matter what the context is. And "Operation Bambi" -- how cruel and how calculated -- I have to empathize on that level.

  95. If memory serves me correctly, I think Mr. Stelter may have inadvertently added to some of the problems with Ms. Curry. The first few stories about NBC concerns regarding Ms. Curry were initially reported in the NYT. I thought that NBC, perhaps, was floating some "trial balloons" to gauge possible public reaction to a change in its Today Show staffing. No matter how one feels about Ms. Curry's competence as a news anchor, I think most would agree that she has been treated very badly by NBC.

    NBC's bigger problem with audience shrinkage, I believe, is due to its unfortunate focus on its on-air audience staff as a family. No one seems to notice that NBC has sharply reduced its coverage of hard news after its first hour on air.

    I've switched to CBS, which is providing the news information I need. John Miller's coverage of the Sandy Hook and Boston Marathon murders is spot on.

  96. John Miller's on CBS???? That does it - I'm shifting from Today to them.

  97. Nine screenloads on the "Today" show! Really? In today' media environment, "Today" is the building my grandparents lived in. Network TV is like the legal system: Ten years behind the times when it comes to trends and topics. Dump the show. It is so boring. Or bring back J. Fred Muggs, he was more authentic than the current blah-blahers.

  98. They kicked J..Fred upstairs to programming.

  99. I'm an Ann fan. Of all of the Today Show "Hosts" and correspondents, Ann seemed the most like someone I knew. I understand that business is business; however, I would like to think that given the way that the Today Show wanted the public to perceive its cast that it would have handled the situation with a bit more class and caring. Everyone lost on this one.

  100. A little perspective, please. Ann got fired. People get fired every day. However, most people don't get fired BUT still get to keep their $10 million salary. Where do I sign up to get "humiliated" on TV for that kind of dough?

  101. Well, that will be a very difficult application process, although beginning with Wall Street could be a generous starting point.

  102. Ah, yes - like high school except with much more money.

  103. I adore Ann Curry. I would love to see her at CBS with Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell. (Gayle King does not fit into my picture of the ideal morning news team, but I think she'd be perfect for the Today Show.)

    I will never watch Matt Lauer again -- not on any network, anywhere. And I know many others who feel the same way. As for Ms. Guthrie, I don't understand how anyone could think that a woman with her personal history would be appealing to a largely female audience. Oh, wait. It's because NBC is run by a group of thoughtless men. Silly me.

    Stay strong, Ann. There are many who appreciate you. When you find a network that is worthy of you, we'll be there!

  104. I'm sorry but even the Republican Party got the message. America is becoming more diverse. To jettison the one minority on a show for a future that looks more like the past seems short-sighted and narrow minded to me.

  105. Please, Ann Curry on the same show as Charlie Rose, perhaps to get his coffee, she with the huffy breathy voice and phony endearments, meh. Ann should do one of those chat shows on LIfetime or something, she does not belong on any morning news program she may be a nice person but she was out of her element on Today other than reading the headlines.

  106. I am sure Ann Curry is a lovely person, however, I could not STAND her on the Today Show - and obviously many more felt the same way. To blame Matt Lauer for all of this is naïve and unnecessary.

  107. Matt Lauer's disdain for Ann Curry was apparent whenever she filled in for both Katie Couric and Meredith Viera. Ann never really looked comfortable in the co-host position, but I liked her.

    Reading about the harrassment (i.e., box of belongings in closet) was disturbing. No one deserves to be treated like that.

    I stopped watch The Today Show ages ago, and turned off GMA as well, because it's just fluff. Funny that Katie Couric would call Ann fake. I can't stomach Katie's new talk show one bit. Talk about fake (and I used to like her)! Like an earlier poster, I prefer my mornings sans television, and as a result, they're so much better.

  108. Diversity has never been television's strong suit. I applauded when Ann Curry became the first Asian-American morning anchor - it was about time. I really connected with the piece about her family and her visit to Japan - something many Asian Americans and other immigrants can relate to. Beyond that, I admired her obvious intelligence, lack of pretension and warmth; and her calm and caring manner. And by the way, despite what the network bozos thought, I admired her original sense of style - she is beautiful. Much as I despised the silly pieces and lack of intellectual depth on morning tv, I watched the show just for her pieces. There's little else to recommend morning shows to anyone, and with Ann's horrible departure, I've stopped watching. Period.

    The network and all of the show's employees that behave so despicably toward a co-worker deserve the current downfall of the show and this reporting piece - to have their self-serving deeds publicly exposed and to be humiliated for their lack of sensitivity towards another. Instead of behaving like mature, very highly paid adults, they behave like the worst bunch of rich, spoiled teenagers in a clique that you might encounter in high school.

  109. "Never understood why they chose him of all the men in America."
    Because he represents all the Bland ,Uncreative ,Boring ,misogynistic Men who run pretty much everything in this so-called Great Nation. Entertainment / Business / Politics / You name it. "Mr. Bland " is there ,stealing the Thunder at every turn.
    I've watched my own Wife struggle in an uphill Battle with these Boobs for 25 years. These so-called "Tough Men" who kick and Stab a woman from behind every chance they get. Men who steal from her Honest ,Hard labor and then call it their own. I can imagine few men who could persevere in the face of this kind of treatment on a daily basis.
    You can point to the Dollars ,but it doesn't always compensate for the Soul -destroying things they endure to get there.

    But of course in the End, it is after all TV. Matters not the least

  110. Sir, you so admirably understand what professional women endure at almost every turn. I've been harassed out of one job after another, but see male friends with similar credentials and smarts who have had the luxury of holding a job virtually since the moment they walked in the door. Disgusting how so many people in this comments section toss off the misogyny as mere "office politics." The story, as told, is about gender-based harassment, which is actionable under federal civil rights law --- even though precious few women ever get a lawyer. Lucky your wife has some relief from this soul-killing behavior in your understanding. So many women endure abuse at the office, and then come home to emotional abuse of abusive labor in the home.

  111. NPR morning news is the only news I listen to now--or, I go to the individualized news page I've set up on Goggle on-line.

  112. I thought the plot of the movie "Anchorman" was exaggerated and a snapshot of an era long past. Apparently not.

  113. One can not have followed the reporting on this "story" without thinking that this particular article is a puff piece provided by NBC's spin doctors.

    Notice that all the people with blamed shoulders are out? Notice how there is just the right amount of blame cast upon Lauer (who is reportedly a dead host talking) but not too much? Notice how Al Roker is not even hinted at in this piece even though he is reportedly behind the "Oust the Louse" operation vis a vis Lauer?

    Ann Curry comes off as a tempremental (with emph on the "mental") wannabe Prom Queen who won't take "no" for an answer and then when "no" becomes "NO!" she makes the entire organization feel her discomfort ( Ann Carrie!?). It's as if she doesn't understand that television is in the business of creating illusions. (Spin or not; Ann has her "issues".)

    I'll join the chorus that sings the song of CBS (I like the Oldie bumps after commercial breaks, and I am facinated by the desk and how they rearrange it and shoot from different sides, pulling out this "ray" or that one. Content is much better than "Today". Personalities? Meh, The Charlie/Nora thing seems a tad too touchy sometimes and I run luke warm and cold with Gayle. She seems to think her place in the show is more important than I think it is.)

    Anyway, I don't trust the truth of the article although I'm willing to believe there is a kernel of truth in the various episodes it relates.

  114. A couple of things. Today lost me when it started the 7:30 dead and/or missing white girl segment. And Ann Curry's false sympathy and empathy, combined with her aggressiveness which came shining through was a huge turnoff. Matt has lost his unbiased stance. He seems to be part of the celebrity culture that Today zealously embraced. And there is just so much fluff. With all that is going on in the world, who cares about Lohan, Khardasians or a bevy of reality show cast-offs.

  115. It's interesting that so many of the commenters feel protective of Ann Curry and are outraged that she was treated badly. Commercial television is a business, and Ann Curry makes more money than she did when she was an anchor. I'm honestly baffled by all these people who liked her.

    As for me, I like my mornings quiet. I don't need the yammering of the television. And I'm not some 60-year-old. I'm 39.

  116. Jeff. loved your comment and so true. Let's not shed a tear for Anne eh? She's made more from being fired than most are being paid as working stiffs. As Sonny Coreleone would say, It's not personal Anne, it's business.

  117. Mee-yowch! Not some (crotchety) 60-year-old, eh?

    Well, give it time.

  118. I don't know why she minds getting fired from such a place. It doesn't seem like a place I would want to work in. They definitely went about the public firing in a very humiliating way for Ann I'm sure, but why would you rather be secretly humiliated on a daily basis instead of just being done with them all together?

  119. I'm no fan of the boys'-club mentality and dynamic, but Ann Curry was and is insufferable. I change the channel when she appears; she's grating, her emotions are overwrought, false, and intrusive in a supposed journalist, and her force-fed pandering to extreme-multiple-birth families was sort of grotesque. NBC not only was right to can her, she should never have been on in the first place. This whole drama, and stories of her ongoing heartbreak and humiliation, are manufactured and absurd and I think they're having the opposite effect from the sympathy she seems to want.

  120. Today ceased to be relevant years ago and lost credibility as a news reporting organization when the "stars" became the topic of the show. Probably our first reality show and a forerunner of Kardashians. If Ann Curry were the real deal and not just a player, she would have sued the network for harassment , discrimination, and moved on to another network.

  121. This article is absurd. Clearly GMA is trying to put the final nails in the coffin for Today. The nonsense here is so unbelievable. I can't believe the Times would publish the NYPost kind of nonsense.

  122. I had stopped watching Today when Meredith Viera came on - really a game show host? I came back only for Ann Curry, being mostly disgusted with the Today approach of stories about little children hunting, more cutesy behavior than a preschool and generally embarrassing behavior at the Olympics. I watch CBS now - could never stand Matt Lauer and Samantha Guthrie is just strange. And I am spared silly stunts. I know it's not solely a news show but give the adults watching some credit.

    And yes, Ann Curry was the only one with real style.

  123. Meredith Viera was not a game show host when she began on Today.

  124. Meredith Vieira was a local TV journalist in New York before becoming a network correspondent on a CBS newsmagazine called West 57th (I think) and I believe she was the first woman correspondent on 60 Minutes.
    She endeavored to combine motherhood with a demanding career at the highest levels of television journalism and paid the price for it. She worked her way back to the Today co-host position via the early morning news and The View at ABC.
    The game show was a smart financial move, given the health issues her husband has faced for decades.
    She's one of the few able to balance ambition with a life. I have nothing but respect for her.

  125. Just wanted you to know that I enjoyed reading the entire story... interesting report, like reporting should be...

  126. I agree. I wasn't even very interested in the subject, and I found the article fascinating. Well-researched and beautifully written.

  127. Gary, me too, even though I do not watch these shows. Apparently, quite a few people were forced to read this article, given the number of complaints about its content.

  128. I actually never watched the early news. Just too busy. Having now read the backstabbing that takes place there I obviously did the right thing. Shame on all who waste their time on this absurd insanity.

  129. The Today Show cranks out pure pablum and is a "family" I want no part of. Curry should count herself lucky not to be involved with the lightweights any longer. Lauer has no place to go unless a game show needs a new host. Curry will survive the bullying and return to journalism with a capital J.

  130. Watch the CBS Morning News...has extended coverage of big stories and does a pretty good job of stonewalling Lindsey Lohan/Justin Beiber stories until the 8 am hour.

  131. This article is priceless & brilliantly written - much better than actually watching morning TV. It takes gossip to the level of substantive reporting! On first reflection, I felt a snarky superiority (why, if I made millions I am sure I would always still put my integrity first). But then I started to think about who these people actually ARE - essentially the same group of good-looking, socially adept, larger-than-average junior high kids who sat at the popular table in the cafeteria. Years later, they are highly qualified for so many high paying jobs but tailor-made for one: being on morning television. Those good looks, natural charisma, and ambition are ideal. Oh, and that elusive likability factor. Matt Lauer, who possesses an exquisitely non-threatening, regular-guy visage, combined with the hint of intelligence (properly suppressed), has managed to negotiate a cut-throat jungle quite successfully. He kind of reminds me of a smarter version of Forrest Gump. I'm not sure what the message from the article is...smells like teen spirit.

  132. Nine pages of this. When compared to recent events in Boston, looking back to Newtown and up to the terrible explosion in the Texas fertilizer plant last night, it is very difficult to read about this middle school level behavior at NBC and think it is relevant in any way, shape or form to life.

  133. In all fairness, this was written and selected for publication long before these events. This article is for the magazine; if you want to read about the explosions or other breaking news, read the newspaper proper.

  134. The strong correlation of the power these self-important, overpaid and intellectually stunted men who run the world (and the women who love them) to the chaos, disorder and violence instigated by mentally disturbed people is probably not a coincidence.

  135. Ann Curry is way too abrasive for a fluffy morning show and it showed in her ratings, replacing Al Roker might be a good idea, he's gotten to be way over exposed in my opinion.

  136. I'm alarmed at how thinly sourced this story is. Are there any sources who aren't anonymous? How many times did you have to put in parenthesis saying that someone disputed what you've written? How many generalized comments are there, with no source even mentioned (e.g., the sentence about morning shows being managed by men "who think in terms of war)?

    I suspect that the Times couldn't resist putting out something on this salacious topic, even with poor sourcing. This isn't up to the standard I've come to expect from this paper.

  137. I was puzzled by some of the disputes. Near the end of the article, Lauer's wife is described as wanting him to leave the show last year. It seems this would have come from his wife, yet an NBC spokeswoman denied this on Lauer's behalf. Is Lauer claiming that his wife is lying?

  138. I stopped watching the day Ann Curry left. Now it's CBS or GMA depending on my mood at breakfast.

    About her clothes: best dressed woman on the show and her shoes were to die for.

    Her journalistic background should have been respected and used but instead the GOBs (good old boys) reared their ugly heads and went after her (just like in high school).

    That's why the GOBs paid Laurer $25 million plus millions in a signing bonus. He was part of their wolf pack! Did Merideth Vierra get $25 mill in salary? I don't think so. Lauer is rewarded because he is a GOB.

    I wager he won't sign another contract and TODAY won't recover from this latest disaster of their own making. Good!

  139. I never liked Ann Curry's interview style. She seemed to think every conversation needed to be about her. She would ask a question, not wait for the answer--or talk over the interviewee-- to express her own opinion. She was a horrible fit as a talkshow co-host. But I do like her as a news anchor and really appreciate her intellect.

    Savanah Guthrie. Oh my goodness. I can't even come up with the words to describe what a ridiculous choice this was.

    Lauer... frankly time to move on. Anderson Cooper would be a great replacement (not W. Geist).

    As new co-anchors, NBC should absolutely consider Hoda Kotb. Another great choice would be Tamron Hall. Both are extremely intelligent and personable. Either can do a hard hitting story too -- something Guthrie is lacking.

  140. I don't understand if this is supposed to be a piece of journalism or some blend of journalism and fiction.

    It seems that the only mention of sources anywhere in the article in cases where a source disagrees with the account given. (So why are we accepting the given account? Who is the superior source we are trusting?)

    In many cases, details of body language and conversation are described from meetings of two people (e.g., Bell and Curry at La Grenouille, Lauer and Vieira at Park Avenue Spring, etc.). Is the contention that in each of these cases, one of the parties submitted to an interview with Brian Stelter (even though he is not telling us so) and conveyed details of these meetings? Was a third party listening as Vieira whispered in Lauer's ear?

    If this is partially fictional, it seems like that needs to be made clear. If it is not, I don't see how so few sources are justified.

  141. NBC should be very happy with this story. It is a detailed synopsis of the fake drama that's been manufactured for viewers. Now that they've caught up with the previous season, viewers who turned off Today now know who is a heel and who is a good guy/gal. It seems that those high-paid Comcast consultants just took a look at "professional" wrestling and substituted pumped-up egos for pumped-up muscles. Today may be the No. 2 morning show, but it is the No. 1 soap-opera.

  142. I am a long time Today Show viewer. Although I own a laptop, a desktop, an Ipad (wifi only) and I work as a librarian, I still want to turn on the TV in the morning, and watch the evening news. The Today Show wants to know about me. Late 50s, well-educated. I like Ann Curry. I thought she was perfect in the news position with the opportunity to do hard news packages and interviews. Not everyone can be the big cheese. But Ann was not the right choice for the co-anchor position, and sadly, she did not realize this. I may be in a minority now but I also think Matt Lauer does well, but it was the men in suits with the big offices and large windows that ultimately made the decision to oust Ann in a truly unprofessional way.

    I'd never change my laundry detergent even if I had a coupon for another brand. I won't be dumping the Today show. Brand loyalty. No desire to see Good Morning America, but I do want to see more hard news and less sensational stories on all news programs. Not just the Today show.

  143. Watch CBS with Charlie Rose. It's the mix of things you seem to be asking for.

  144. That NBC was talking to Megyn Kelly about doing anything associated with "news" says it all. It's like the second coming of J. Fred Muggs. it would actually be refreshing if they stopped the pretense and all the hosts went back to holding up boxes of detergent, floor wax, and motor oil and deliver the ads themselves, because Today and its imitators are nothing but lathe for the commercials to be plastered upon. At least Dave Garroway, Barbara Walters, and Hugh Downs had the honesty to do that. Now, Matt or Savannah interview musicians, writers, and actors selling things they make and pretend they are keeping us informed about the news, when all they are doing is keeping the shilling going.

  145. Megyn Kelly? You mean they're no longer trying to get Ryan Seacrest on the show?

  146. According to the article, Today counter-programmed Katie Couric by having Sarah Palin guest-host for a week. The technical term for this is "scraping the bottom of the barrel." They also helped Ann Coulter promote her execrable books. Watching Matt Lauer interview Coulter made my stomach turn. Fortunately, Kathy Griffith followed her on the air and asked, "Why is that woman wearing a black cocktail dress at seven o'clock in the morning?" So it wasn't a total loss.

  147. While it's horrifying to think that a supposedly legitimate news division would hire anyone with a history at Fox, at least Megyn Kelly has shown that she will say whatever her bosses tell her to, regardless of whether they are true.

  148. I have never been a big Ann Curry fan, but her departure certainly unmasked a great deal of boorish behavior at NBC. I used to watch anyway for lack of alternatives. Ms. Guthrie, however, has made sure I will watch almost anything but Today in the morning. I have doubled my contributions to NPR. It is a far better choice.

  149. A lot of lessons to be learned about managing change but in the end it was (and is) about egos and money - rich people feeding their superheated egos while making even more money.

  150. In a sense, I'm grateful to NBC for canning Ms. Curry. She was, after all, the only reason I continued watching Today despite my growing irritation with the show's format and its depletion of hard-news stories after the show's initial half-hour. Once Ms. Curry's grace and sensitivity were extinguished I switched over to the CBS morning show (GMA was never an option) and discovered that there were some TV news correspondents who actually took the news- and their jobs- seriously. Thank you, Charlie and Norah (and even you, Oprahsbestfriendgayle King). Hopefully Ms. Curry will be let out of her demeaning contract at some point and end up with the team at CBS. She's be a great fit there. NB: Tom Cruise was right all along. Matt really IS glib.

  151. I never watch it and don't really care about these Mad Men.

  152. I don't know how anyone watches in the first place.

  153. Well, if you adopt a humble attitude and and an open mind and sincerely listen to people who aren't exactly like yourself, you might learn how.

  154. Patricia, give viewers something to think about, that relates to life, good or bad, and they will be able to validate time spent in front of a box that talks.

  155. Wow, the comings and goings and doings at Midtown Middle School, but I cannot resist tossing in my two cents - and worth every penny.

    I have watched the Today Show since Dave Garroway was the host, and I sat watching the test pattern until 7:00 when the show kicked off the TV viewing day. And as a matter of habit, just kept watching Today - key phrase to follow - when I watched morning shows.

    It always struck me that for the last decade or so, Today's "family" was pretty dysfunctional. Al Roker is masking a deep streak of anger or disappointment or whatever - truly a fat man inside raging to get out. Ann Curry always struck me as the Secretary or VP of the Latin Club - earnest and eager but short on charisma and easily offended. Lauer should take it easy and realize that he may be one of the luckiest untalented people on the planet given his ridiculous salary and marginal talent. The women seem to have been hired because they are so fungible and forgettable. Geist - the heir apparent - looks like someone who understands that he is on TV because his dad was. And Kathy Lee and Hoda Kotb (Pat, I'd like to solve the puzzle) are completely inexplicable.

    At my sister's urging, I have slid over to CBS where they seem to take the news seriously and whatever you may think, Charlie and Gayle and Norah appear to have some intelligence and integrity. As well, CBS is willing to let the story linger a bit, taking some time to pursue the issue and ask some penetrating questions.

  156. One comment -- "the internet has upended the evening news" -- needs addressing. WHO gets home by 5 or 6? There are no more Leave it Beaver families and dad doesn't sit down for dinner at 5. Now, if the evening news were on at 7, I'd love it. There actually would be people home to watch.

  157. Dear NYT,

    Please do not turn into "The Today Show."



  158. What's so great about Matt Lauer anyway? 25 Million in salary is ridiculous, unjustified, and sexist. He's simply not that good at his job. I would find it insulting if Anderson Cooper had to "overlap" with Lauer, who is not even in Anderson's league.

    I think it's beneath Anderson's stature to move to morning TV, and hope he sticks with CNN as the premier serious news reporter. As for Today, why don't the switch things up and have a woman as the main anchor, with men in supporting roles?
    Time for a change.

  159. Get rid of Matt . I always felt that he got his job because of the old boy network and not his intelligence .Everybody thinks that he has no substance and he surely couldn't and shouldn't have to transition on the side of a news person like Anderson Cooper. Anderson has proved time and time again @ CNN that he can and will handle anything ,be it breaking news ,in depth interviews etc.

  160. Matt's a journalist; Savannah is a lawyer; Ann is a whisperer...
    Ann came off as acting; Savannah comes off as just wanting to be the popular girl and
    Matt comes off as what he is... a good interviewer and story teller. ABC seems to be lots of fraternity & sorority antics / not for my morning.(Too bad NBC didn't get Robin.)
    Charlie Rose, Nora O'Donnell and Gail King have the right chemistry with the strength of Sunday Morning behind them. Matt just needs to find the right seat mate... and all will be good. Hoda?

  161. I agree 100%. CBS doesn't insult my intelligence whereas watching NBC leaves me feeling dirty and like I just lost a few IQ points.

  162. Not being a Today Show watcher and knowing nothing (and caring less) about all the politics and personality clashes between its various "stars" and executives, but having endured more than my share of cringe-worthy Ann Curry segments on the NBC Nightly News, this all comes down to a simple reality: she simply wasn't very good at her job. Her phony earnestness and theatrical sypathy--all while whispering typical tabloid questions--"How did you really feel when you saw your daughter murdered in front of you?" were painful and unprofessional and not worthy of NBC, let alone Fox! All of this makes me appreciate NPR all the more.

  163. Yes, yes, and yes. Cringe-worthy indeed. I bailed on Today when Curry became the co-host--could not stomach her saccharine presence--and went to Morning Joe on MSNBC. Love it (OK, there are personalities there, too) and never going back.

  164. Matt Lauer needs to go. It isn't about Ann Curry anymore. His image as Mister Nice Guy is destroyed, he's been unmasked, and you can't put that genie back in the bottle. Lauer is poison.

  165. Like war, gossip and petty competition, rumoring, are all slow violences. People get in their paths. Matt Lauer, for example. He isn't poison, but he has been poisoned.

    He had a good run though. It is all quite shallow, in the end. Fluff.

    Lauer should have taken a page from the playbook of Tom Brokaw.

    But perhaps he couldn't. Not enough depth, sobriety in reporting?

    Broadcast TV needs to get a grip. There is almost nothing worth watching except on PBS.

  166. The Today Show with Matt, I just see him as the guy going bald that's planting hair on his head and the biggest joke of all Jenna Bush who has really earned her spot on national tv. What a joke.
    I would love to hear all the actual professionals comment on that hire.
    The Today Shows producers must really know their stuff to run off a real professional like Ann Curry. Maybe they are just preparing Jenna Bush to be the co host. Absolutely no cred at all.

  167. Such a great read on American culture. TV is so shallow, and we are being dumbed down segment by segment on those morning shows.

    Still, I'd rather we indulge in gossip from a distance than do any more tearing of each other down in our local communities.

    Americans, get a life.

  168. Either you are quoting people who are completely unbelievable or virutally all the subjects of this article are liars. How many denials of statements or actions can you pack into one story? Clearly the people operating in the television news business feel no compunction to tell the truth.

  169. I have been watching the Today show since the days of Pauley and
    Gumbel and it always has been my favorite. I have watched hosts come and go...I have always admired Ann Curry for her journalistic expertise. But let's face it. SHE WAS NOT GOOD IN THAT ROLE. Bottom line is ....she did not belong there just because she is a nice person and waited her turn.

  170. Fascinating. I did not know that Today show was the most lucrative news program before Ms. Curry's departure. Since I came to this country in 1968, I NEVER watched any morning TV show and I have the impression that even born Americans do not actually WATCH any of them. Just a background noise so many Americans love - TV on all day and nobody paying any attention to it.

    But, of courts, money is money and NBC is loosing it, not a good thing for one of the oldest broadcast networks - first radio, then TV.

    And let a 'personality' cry on camera is a real bad PR event.

    Do we have to know all the details? Absolutely not.

  171. Mental and Emotional Abuse is what is described in this article as well as adolescent like bullying from professional adults!

    I am so sorry Ann, that you had to endure this.

  172. And a lot of this happened because Comcast bought NBC? As a long (and I do mean long since they have a near-monopoly in my area) suffering Comcast customer - the loss of revenue and prestige couldn't happen to a nicer company.

  173. The backstabbing and sinister atmosphere behind this whole story about the Today Show is disgusting. I haven’t had any respect for Ann Curry since her “reporting” in New Orleans during Katrina when she kept the operator of the boat she was in moving despite a poor dog trying desperately to catch up with them—cruel! That said, she does not deserve the humiliation and hairy high school treatment from her colleagues and honchos. She is a beautiful lady who always looks nice and to read about comments about her wardrobe, etc., was outrageous. I am no fan of Matt Lauer but to blame him for this mess is equally despicable. I watch Charley Rose before leaving for work and I like so many other commenters, think NPR beats everyone hands down. But whoever said Americans were smart? They love scandals and murders and the producers milk the lowest common denominator for everything these stories produce. A pox on all their houses!

  174. Why jump on "American" viewers as being dumb. Have you seen foreign TV programs? Nothing close to our enlightened PBS in Europe. I mean nothing close. And Sixty Minutes probably leads the world in uncovering corruption. The BBC is wracked with scandal and bias. And most of what I have seen in France, England and Italy is like watching butter melt. They seem to like lots of American reruns of Law and Order. Actually Americans are very smart and many Europeans (especially TV commentators) love to comment on American intelligence as if we were one race of dumb people. Of course America is the land of everybody from all corners of the globe who are trying to accomplish having a highly inventive creative society - with a strong government - no easy task. Just saying.

  175. "She told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture."

    And every day worse happens to millions of other employees in the US, but they don't get to tell their story and they don't get paid enough to live in New Canaan, Conn.

  176. But it's a telling reveal that women are still second-class citizens in the denizens of TV news.

  177. Here's a breaking news item for the NBC newsroom - I just stopped watching Brian Williams after 20 years of watching NBC Nightly News. My DVR is now munching on PBS News Hour, which keeps getting better and better.

    The straw that broke the camel's back was Brian's breathless announcement that KFC was bringing out a new line of boneless chicken. Now, I know that Brian is too much of a news professional to have wanted to read that silly item, but nevertheless he has to be held accountable along with the jerks who inserted that slop into a supposedly serious news program.

    Consider that NBC Nightly is 30 minutes long, then subtract commercials and the remaining time is so short that every second should be devoted to important issues.

    What NBC doesn't understand is that important issues can be presented in a addictively interesting and compelling way. Here's an example of what wasn't covered: a ranking of national health care systems by popularity and what that tells us Americans. How do Germans feel abouth their system? Swedes? Canadians? Why aren't those questions being asked?

  178. I watch the BBC - so refreshing to not only get real news but news with a global perspective.

  179. But do you ever watch his show Rock Center? I love it and the final segment, Rock Bottom, is not to be missed.

  180. This article is both highly readable and ridiculous. The body of the text presents its story as fact, identifying precious few sources for most of its facts, and indeed presenting nearly everyone involved as denying those facts via parenthetical notes "(Lauer denies this meeting happened") etc. So: no sources for most of the narrative, and outright denials from most of the principals did not suggest to the reporter or his editors that the story needed to be, um, altered to fit the facts? This is The New York Times. 9 pages, during which the reporter without irony uses the word "terrifying" to characterize the prospect of falling ratings. The new journalistic standard: go with gossip from anonymous sources but maintain a claim to journalism by inserting named sources in parenthetical asides that deny everything we've just read -- parentheses with the implicit eye-roll "Yeah, like Matt wouldn't deny this?" The last graph is particularly memorable: a private lunch between friends talking about their kids, reported by "another diner" who evidently spent his or her lunch hour eavesdropping. Paparazzi without portfolio. The final sentence is priceless: "Lauer held the door for her as they walked outside, and she embraced him, rubbing his back reassuringly and saying in his ear, “It’ll be O. K.”" Poor Matt. Publishing this story 3 days after the Boston bombing indicates that the dysfunction at NBC is far outstripped by the dysfunction at the NY Times.

  181. You have it perfectly, except that I disagree that the timing vis a vis Boston reveals dysfunction at the Times.

    Drivel about drivel.

    I never watch the Today show, primarily because Matt Lauer is a joke. If I think for a moment that he he is a newsman, my stomach turns. But if ever I must watch it, say because it's the only working channel while I am on the treadmill, I will be sure not to buy any product that is advertised on the program.

  182. Yes, I was also a fan who left NBC with Ann Curry. Thank you for this article which
    does more than explain what happened .... it also tells me I should stick to the serious news on CBS or CNN.
    It was a great ride with Meredith, Ann, Al and Matt. It was devastating when both Meredith and Ann were gone. I cannot watch Matt at all. not to mention Savannah.
    NBC, you made a huge mistake in both news reporters and in news content.
    I continue to respect and admire Ann Curry and always will.

  183. Who cares? The morning shows are either for children or those who aren't quite awake. Of course hard news in the morning is depressing so lets go out in the street and let the tourists wave or listen to a has-been singer croon. But Anne Curry is beautiful and intelligent, but evidently someone with power did not like her and wanted to get rid of her. Probably best for her to not be on a morning show and she probably will go on to a much better career. However the person who "fired" her evidently lacked management skills and it has cost NBC in viewership and revenues. Good luck to them in their future career (fingers crossed). Who will get the last laugh?

  184. Three comments:

    1. In a country of more than 30 million unemployed, the idea fo even a fragment of sympathy for a woman with $15,000,000 in the bank being fired is distasteful. Get real -- she doesn't do cancer research, she couldn't even tie a tourniquet on a poor victim of the Boston bombing. She wasn't a serious reporter, eve. She was a "feelings correspondent." Thoguh, if true, the stories of being teased at work are not nice, find a single American worker who hasn't been mistreated at work, for a lot less money.

    2. Today show is not news. Not close. IT is a flippant, silly, gossip show. And a politician being "grilled" by Matt Lauer is as frightening and intimidating as, say, a TSA worker asking my name at the airport. Never forget that before becoming a wishy washy entertainer, he was a clothing salesman.

    3. While it is always of passing interest to learn about the workings of the vapid world of TV, to dedicate this amount of space to such a meaningless story makes the Times seem as empty as...the Today show.

  185. Allan great comment, and so true, Anne was mediocre at best, and to those who think the 45 second sound bytes are news you're sadly mistaken.

  186. I couldn't agree more - and I really wonder about the Times's seeming obsession over the last few months with the Today show. Other than advertisers and their agents, who cares? The show itself is obviously a daily, hours-long advertisement for the usual consumer products and services, peppered, from time to time, with a couple of minutes of soft (fluffy?) news and features. Can we move on?

  187. Allan - I dont think it could have been put any better. Who actually cares about morning time TV anyways? I can get all the information the night before and celebrity gossip, dress, etc. are better left for TMZ and the other trash networks based on envy.

  188. Savannah Guthrie is unpleasant, unattractive, and not especially bright. When she comes on, I turn to another channel. I thought Ann Curry was a terrific journalist and a compelling interviewer.

  189. By all accounts, Ms. Curry is a sweetheart, a good journalist and just a gorgeous woman. But, a compelling interviewer? Come now.

    When my wife and I heard a teaser that somebody would be interviewed by Ann, we used to joke that the interviewee caught a lucky break.

  190. I don't know jack about Savannah Guthrie, but I do know this: We have to find better ways of defending women we value than putting down other women in their place. As this article makes clear, Savannah Guthrie's not the one who screwed over Ann Curry.

  191. Life imitates art. This all feels like Mad Men at 30 Rock.

  192. Wow. Global warming, terrorism, recession, and the Times runs an article on office politics?

    Ludicrously overpaid hosts feeding pap to the bleary-eyed -- who cares?

    Sure, the corridors of the corporate world are crawling with the slithering snakes of intrigue, but "Mad Men" does a good job of covering that.

  193. Oh get over yourself. "But there are starving people in China!" does not mean every story you aren't interested in should disappear. In case you didn't actually read the article, the Today Show partly controls the fate of one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world. That alone makes this interesting.

  194. How rude.

  195. Thanks Josh - You beat me to it.

    And not only that - but have you noticed how the NY Times Sunday Magazine - one a source of in-depth articles covering the really important current events of our lives, both domestically and globally, - has recently turned into an ersatz entertainment insert, included in your Sunday newspaper ?

    Front page articles about movie and television stars, ratings wars, pop music, etc.

    While there certainly are a considerable group of people who watch morning television, and really care - and are angry - about the way Ann Curry was treated, or how much they dislike Matt Lauer - don't you think that's a discussion better suited to an internet Media or Fan blog - rather than a cover story on The New York Times Sunday Magazine Section ?

  196. This "boys club" meanness towards professional women is all too common. Women who don't join in soon find themselves targets of the vitriol.

  197. I switched to GMA about a year ago. It was not because of Ann Curry. It was because I resented the way NBC handled their local news talent. The long time and well established personnel were cut loose and replaced by good looking air heads.

    At first I did not like GMA, after a year I find it much better than Today.

  198. It is very hard for me to believe that the audience of fluff like the Today Show is so attuned to the backstage politics, and that for example they would need to think that Curry moving to Dateline was a "promotion" in order for them not to resent the show. Is this really not just the obsessive thought process of insiders who can't see the big picture because they are mired in the miserable details?

  199. People catch on to these things fast. The entire audience knew the instant Deborah Norville was sent in to supplant Jane Pauley that the fix was in.

  200. How old are these NBC male executives? They appear to be relics of some college frat boy culture. Of course, they prefer the "playful" and "bashful" Ms. Guthrie to Ann Curry who didn't have "chemistry" with Matt Lauer. Ann was more like the school hall monitor to these mean spirited men. But, how ironic. They fired the scapegoat they created and then it took another woman to point out that the problem wasn't just that Ann and Matt didn't have chemistry, it was that the Today show hadn't evolved in years. But American culture and what morning viewers wanted had changed.

    It also appears that NBC, its News division, and the Today show were "led" by a series of male executives and producers who weren't good managers. Is the failure to see that the show had calcified and also a series of "non-decisions" on succession planning considered good management? In the Business section of the NYT there are regular articles about the high compensation of corporate executives and whether those high $ are justified. If a series of NBC executives during the last 15 years-- all well paid (albeit not as high as Matt Lauer) -- couldn't see that their product hadn't evolved with the times, I don't think they earned their high salaries and perks. If nothing else, the failure to see that the problem as they had diagnosed it and the solution they had devised was just a rerun of the Pauley/Gumbel/Norville debacle just proves what short sighted managers they all were/are.

  201. I don't get all these attacks on the article because of "unnamed sources". I'm not suggesting there might not be some creative license taken here, but it's not like NBC doesn't already have a track record and mismanagement. Lest we forget the Leno O'Brien debacle?

    I'm not sure Ann Curry was ever a fit, and I like and respect her, but the producers certainly didn't make the environment welcoming or productive. Nor did her cohost. I think anyone who has seen this show over the last few years knows there were problems long before Curry took the helm. Do people forget the ratings were slipping long before Meredith Viera left.

    The show needs retooling and fresh blood. I think Savannah Guterie was a mistake not because of incomptence but because she just fits the mold of Katie Couric and that time is passed.

    On a side note, it's ironic that Couric of all people called Curry "fake". Couric, who is the queen of being fake.

  202. Today lost my viewership when they invited Sarah Palin to co-host. Never a fan of Matt Lauer or Al Roker, but I liked Ann Curry, she is a smart, experienced Journalist. Now I learn there is quite a bit of misogyny in the executive offices of NBC, may your ratings continue to tank.

  203. Exactly where they lost me as well. I gave GMA a try (sadly, just as bad) then moved on to CBS This Morning. I haven't left CBS This Morning. Maybe there is a lesson in there for Today?

  204. Yes, inviting the Gov who regularly bashes the media and is making millions on Fox to host the Today show was the last straw for me. Now my husband and I watch Morning Joe before work.