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Why Ann Curry Should Be Named the Next 'Today' Anchor ... and Why She Might Not Be

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 6th 2011 4:00PM
Ann CurryOver the years, I've spilled a fair amount of pixels in this space poking fun at Ann Curry. By all accounts, though, she's a top journalist and an overall good egg. One thing she's been over everything else is loyal: She's been in the newsreader role on 'Today' since 1997, and stayed with the no. 1 morning show after she was passed over in favor of Meredith Vieira five years ago.

Now, with word that Vieira and Lauer are likely leaving 'Today' when her contract ends in September, it's time to give Ann Curry the opportunity to anchor the show on a permanent basis, and not just for the 14-year apprenticeship she's put in as the newsreader. It's the smartest move for NBC to make in order to keep the show at the top of the heap.

Of course, now that we've given her the job ... does she want it? Some of the things she's said and done in the past make me wonder. More on that -- and some speculation on who else might get the job -- after the jump.

If you're a steady watcher of 'Today' -- like I am -- two of the things you learn about Curry pretty quickly are that 1) She's really listening to whatever person she's interviewing, whether it's Brad Pitt, some third-world despot or a kid who called 911 to save her mom, and 2) She will go anywhere and do almost anything to get a story. It's why she was the one dispatched to Japan after the earthquake and tsunami and not Vieira or Lauer. The most adventurous road trip Vieira has taken in recent months has been to London to report on preparations for the Royal Wedding.

So, factor 1 would lead you to believe that she'd be a natural in the role. Yes, her interview style is intensely empathetic to the point of distraction. But morning show audiences eat that stuff up with a spoon. In addition, because she's been a substitute so often and co-hosts the show's third hour with Al Roker and Natalie Morales, the transition from Vieira to Curry would be even smoother than the one from Katie Couric to Vieira, something NBC is always eager to see.

But factor 2 may keep her at the news desk. A few months after she was passed over in favor of Vieira, I asked Curry if she was disappointed she didn't get the anchor job. The impression she gave during her long answer to that question was that whatever disappointment she may have felt was short-lived, mainly because she still got to do the field reports she loved to do:

"I am now able to get projects green-lighted that are not [ever] done," Curry told me. "And I'm heard. When I say we ought to go to Lebanon, I'm heard. When I say we ought to pay attention to Darfur, I'm heard. I want that. I don't want ... That's what I really want. And I'm so happy."

As the co-anchor of 'Today,' she won't get to do as much field reporting as she does now. Like some of the people that are under consideration for Katie Couric's CBS job -- Lara Logan, for instance -- is she willing to trade that for a shot at the top job on the show? I'm not sure.

So, if Curry doesn't get the job, who else would be considered?

Natalie MoralesNatalie Morales
If the transition to Curry would be smooth, so would the transition to Morales. She's got the experience of being familiar to 'Today' viewers, and she's younger to boot (though, ironically, she's about the same age Jane Pauley was when she "left" the show 22 years ago for being "too old"). She's a bit bland, but could grow in the role; hopefully her stint on 'The Marriage Ref' won't be held against her.




Savanna GuthrieSavannah Guthrie
NBC tried the White House correspondent during Vieira's last vacation. She did a credible job; a bit stiff in places, but she seemed like she handled the transitions from hard news to fluff with relative ease. The con? She's wicked tall. This is no joke; do you want a host that towers over everyone else? Those shots on the plaza must have been a bear for those cameramen to frame.




Erin BurnettErin Burnett
The CNBC anchor has been a sub in recent years, and has name recognition around NBC. But she looked completely uncomfortable in the role, and would seem to be a better fit as newsreader, so she doesn't have to try to stay with Russell Brand's wisecracks in that inevitable train-wreck celebrity interview.





Amy RobachAmy Robach
See Natalie Morales above. Familiar to viewers who watch the Saturday 'Today' show, and relatively young. But personality-wise, she has the same blandness problem as Morales. It wouldn't make much sense for NBC to pass over Morales for Robach when they're essentially the same anchor.





Jenna WolfeJenna Wolfe
Oh, God, no. The Sunday 'Today' anchor grates on every last nerve, and she would drive viewers away if she got a shot at the big job.







Jenna Bush HagerJenna Bush Hager
Might be a fun choice for name recognition. But she makes Tiki Barber look like a TV natural, and that's saying a lot.








Tell us: Who do you think should replace Meredith Vieira on 'Today'? Tell us in the comments or take the poll below.

Who should replace Meredith Vieira on 'Today?'
Ann Curry47313 (77.5%)
Natalie Morales7114 (11.7%)
Savannah Guthrie1219 (2.0%)
Amy Robach1851 (3.0%)
Jenna Wolfe810 (1.3%)
Jenna Bush Hager2747 (4.5%)


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bobparks77

Curry as she leans into the poor grieving parents: "So how did it feel when a truck ran over your precious little child??" Dump "the gusher" along with that FAT racist weather guy.

April 07 2011 at 10:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bobparks77's comment
marissa

no need to be vicious here. remarks like this is more racist than you are criticizing others of being. you can have an "opinion", just stop the sabotage, this world does not need any more of this! Wow, think of the adjectives they could be placing on you! you would not be happy. So have a happy day and be nice to everyone you see or speak to , try it for a whole day, it will make you a better person and you will find that you will like yourself better.

April 08 2011 at 7:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eileen

PS - Also a big no to Jenna Wolfe, I can't belive she lasted this long. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

April 07 2011 at 10:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Eileen

Please, not Ann. I'm guessing she is a lovely person, but her interviews are either pandering or condescending. And she delivers sympathy with a pornographic sigh that is so innappropriate. And who writes her stuff? "The most horrible thing imaginable just happened to you - how do you feel?" Wow, really? No, it was hard when Katie left but Meredith did well. But, if Matt leaves, ugh! My only recommendation would be Peter Alexander and Darlene Morales from the local NBC news . . . roll it around for a while.

April 07 2011 at 10:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Blondie

I watch MSNBC every day. I just love Erin Burnett! I think she would be perfect for replacement of Meredith. Erin has a good sense of humor and she is beautiful!

April 07 2011 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Momma

i have always liked Ann, but haave quit watching Today for years now...their liberal bias is boring!

April 07 2011 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cliff & Debbie

I think Ann would be a great choice to replace Merrdith. Please Please Please not JENNA WOLFE!

April 07 2011 at 6:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
filandmil

Ann Curry is just OK. I would miss Matt. I wouldn't want to see Ann as the new anchor. She is just OK as I said. PLEASE don't bring back Katie Couric. None of the listed folks are much better, behind the scenes or with a booster maybe, but not on the top spot. Good luck, I wouldn't want to be the one to choose.

April 07 2011 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ynlsap

You've got to be kidding about Ann Curry. She is the worst interviewer on TV! She talks a "mile a minute", and is so self-absorbed she never comes up for air & allows the person to whom she is speaking to get a word in edgewise! And that sultry voice that tries to feign interest in her interviewee is soooo off-putting and insincere. She is a beautiful woman visually, but if we must hear her at all, keep her at the news desk, or just limit her to Dateline.

April 07 2011 at 3:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ynlsap

You've got to be kidding about Ann Curry. She is the worst interviewer on TV! She talks a "mile a minute", and is so self-absorbed she never comes up for air & allows the person to whom she is speaking to get a word in edgewise! And that sultry voice that tries to feign interest in her interviewee is soooo off-putting and insincere. She is a beautiful woman visually, but if we must hear her at all, keep her at the news desk, or just limit her to Dateline.

April 07 2011 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judy

Sorry, and forgot to mention please no Kathie Lee...she is unbelievably annoying!!!

April 07 2011 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Judy's comment
toothii

DITTO!

April 07 2011 at 3:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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