It's been rumored for weeks, but Meredith Vieira made her announcement today that she's leaving the Today Show next month to spend time with her family, appropriately enough the Monday after a holiday that's all about moms and families. Is it too soon to say I'm excited?
Because as Vieira steps aside, NBC is finally recognizing its own familial obligations. They're moving 14-year Today Show veteran Ann Curry, a dedicated member of the NBC family, out of the newsreader/substitute anchor position and into the forefront. My favorite woman in the news is finally getting her due. It was about darn time.
Passed over in 2006 when Katie Couric jumped ship for the CBS Evening News, Curry could have thrown a hissy at the time. News anchor at Today since 1997, the mother of two was already an Emmy Award-winning journalist, a co-host on Dateline NBC, and a regular substitute on the NBC Evening News. But there are two brass rings in TV news: the morning anchor slot and the evening. Curry was flirting with both but grabbing neither when Vieira was brought in from The View.
Why she didn't cause a stir then was never more apparent than this morning, when she demurred in the classic Ann Curry way when finally offered her chance to crow about her new gig. "I feel like the high school computer nerd who was just asked to the prom by the quarterback of the football team," Curry said, before turning the spotlight back on Vieira. "You have been a gift to this broadcast," she said, launching into an homage that came thisclose to begging the departing anchor to keep the job. Just watch:
The thing is, Ann Curry's soft-spokenness isn't an act. She's really nice. Too darn nice. She's getting THE gig to beat all gigs, and she's genuinely upset about losing a girlfriend. I like this woman, but come on Ann! You deserve this!
I'd wager this honest kindness is exactly what works for her. This is why she seems to get the big interviews (Lance Armstrong, it seems, will only talk to Ann; Angelina Jolie is a clear fan). And I dare say why America tunes in. Hey, it's not for Roker's jokes -- that's for sure. Now here's hoping she enjoys it!
Are you sad to see Meredith Vieira leaving? Can you think of a better replacement than Ann Curry?
Image via MSNBC