NBC News is getting ready to replace Ann Curry as a co-host of the "Today" show, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The paper wrote that Curry and NBC executives have begun discussing a transition out of her hosting role. The negotiations are expected to be done by the network's coverage of the Summer Olympics in July.
"That way, 'Today' can go to the games with a complete, comfortable team of co-hosts," a source familiar with the situation told the Times. Some observers predicted that a different arrangement could be announced as early as next week.
It is unknown whether Curry has accepted a deal yet. She is currently being represented by attorney Robert Barnett — who helped Christiane Amanpour negotiate her dual role at CNN and ABC News after leaving "This Week" — in the talks.
Since ascending to the job last June, Curry has faced a constant barrage of negative press about the show's declining ratings and her chemistry with co-host Matt Lauer, which many felt was touched with more than a tinge of frost. The heat turned all the way up after "Good Morning America" beat "Today" in the ratings for the first week in sixteen years. Curry acknowledged the pressure she was facing at the time, while former host Meredith Vieira, whom she replaced, spoke out in her defense.
To frequent viewers, the signs of an impending shift could be seen in the sudden return of Vieira to a prominent role in past weeks. NBC announced that she would be one of the lead hosts for Olympics coverage, and even sent her to London with Lauer to cover the Diamond Jubilee — a plum assignment that would typically go to a current host. Curry's absence was conspicuous.
Stepping down will not be easy for Curry, who spent fourteen years as the newsreader and pursued the top spot for years. She was a frontrunner for the job when Katie Couric left in 2006, but was passed over for Vieira instead.
"After having the experience the last time where I was not asked to do this, I pretty much decided that there is no 'deserving,'" she said. "Nothing is owed to you."
In that interview, she also called herself a "natural reporter, but not a natural anchor."
She finally received the promotion when Vieira left last June. At the time, NBC News president Steve Capus praised Curry's work in the years after Couric's departure, especially her international reporting. There were rumors that NBC was worried about Curry's transition after "GMA" started closing the ratings gap, though the network tried to shoot them down.
There was no word on who might replace Curry. Rumors within the industry have placed current co-host Savannah Guthrie as the favorite to succeed her. Guthrie has been on the show since Curry took the top slot, and was quickly chosen as the primary replacement whenever Curry was off.
CORRECTION: Christiane Amanpour has a dual role at CNN and ABC News, not CNN and NBC News as the article originally stated.
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