Friday, June 29, 2012
The Today Show Kicks Curry to the Curb
By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
You know, I used to watch the Today Show religiously every morning before going to work – but then there was something to watch – Bryant Gumble was the host and he made it come alive for me and my children. In fact, they grew up on the Today Show, and learned a great deal during those days.
I even continued to watch when they brought on Katy Couric. But, truth be told, when Bryant Gumble left, so did I. I haven't checked in to the show since then, unless there was an announcement that someone special would be featured.
Likewise, I had begun to be a devotee of Good Morning America, with Robin Roberts, until she humiliated Chris Brown on national TV. From that point on I've not really bothered with the good morning talking heads, chatterbox genre. I actually resent the fact that the shows start at 4:00 AM and continue, ad nauseum, until 10:00. I call it cheap network programming.
However, that does not mean that I was not aware of, and cognizant of who the anchors were; just wasn't interested in them. Matt Lauer, to me, was an interloper who had had the great good fortune of becoming a staple on the show by default of the fact that Gumble was no longer there.
So when the flack arose about Ann Curry, I was totally puzzled at what could have possibly generated such negativity. I've watched her over the years, and she's a credible journalist, with a pleasant personality. And while she may not pander to some of the inanities that are employed to keep people engaged in the show, she certainly has always been a professional in her own right. Her stepping in to the shoes of Meredith Viera, however, on the Today Show, was kind of like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, as far as I was concerned, since the show was already sinking.
What I did not appreciate was the fact that Lauer and crew have tried to make the ratings her fault. She actually apologized for “dropping the ball!” What! The sister has fifteen years in that show. She has done the yeoman's job of reporting from remote places, and under circumstances that I long ago decided I did not want to be involved in as a journalist (which is probably why I'm not on the show – too much work).
This morning's farewell was the first time I have watched the show in nearly 10 years. And I felt as though she was being scape goated by the rest of the cast and crew for their shortcomings. And people, I was not pleased!
Who the Sam Hill is it that has the audacity to blame her for not floating an anvil? And where does Ann get off co-signing that drivel? In any other situation, she is one of the top journalists on TV, bar none. She doesn't have to take heat (or hatred) from anyone. If anything, they need to change the format of that tired old dinosaur, and come up with some thing more relevant than talking heads.
She stated, "For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I am sorry I could not carry the ball across the finish line," and then she started to cry. I hope her kids weren't watching that madness. I actually had hoped her husband would have been there to stand up for her. These people were trying to crucify this woman on national TV!!
The only other bright spot on that show is Al Roker, who gave her words of encouragement. But for the most part, there seemed to be some sort of tacit lynchmob concensus that Ann Curry should leave the show, because she couldn't cut it. Realllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy????????
According to the posts on Yahoo, there are many fans who feel that she has been an asset to the show, but that Matt Lauer was apparently outclassed, and this is the “lack of chemistry” they keep alluding to:
"The ball" Curry referred to was code for ratings. As media reporters have suggested, Curry' journalistic disposition hadn't won over as many morning show viewers' hearts as did Meredith Vieira, who she replaced on "the couch" last year. Complaints over her lack of "chemistry" with Lauer were jockeyed around enough that part of her departing speech included the implied protestation: "Matt and I have had great on-air chemistry for 14 years."
Overall, Curry's been lauded by colleagues and critics for handling her departure with "class." The Huffington Post's media blog backed Curry up, pointing the finger at NBC on Twitter: "Meredith Vieira got a two-hour farewell. Ann Curry was given 5 minutes after 15 years on the show."
As it stands, Curry is rumored to be replaced by Savannah Guthrie, a woman more than a decade younger than her, who is believed to have more "chemistry" with Lauer. Should an esteemed, accomplished journalist really apologize for not winning what seems like a sexist, unfair, and unjust race? Not according to an outpouring of fans commenting on her farewell speech posted to Yahoo's homepage this morning”.
Their nearest rival, Kathie Lee and Hoda, neither of whom are journalists, are apparently getting over in the AM genre, with morning cocktails and very little in the way of real news or public affairs.
Curry, who according to all the online bio's is Japanese, American Indian, with just a hint of French, Irish and something else, apparently does not wear her skirt too short or her blouse too low, leaving her looking like the hopeless professional she is. It's also rumored that she has been “demoted” from her anchor position, and has a “new title” - wonder what it is?
The ratings game has been around for eons, and is supposedly a measure how well liked the show is in the polls. Then should check out the producer and program director. However, as one individual stated, "It's all about entertainment and ratings," wrote one commenter. "There was a time when the Today Show was really about news, [but] not anymore. More power to Ms. Curry, she is the only one on there who is truly a journalist anyway."
The only thing I can say is that with Ms. Curry being pushed off the show, there is an additional reason that I no longer watch the Today Show. Sorry Al.
To Ann, good luck and God Bless. The $10 million severance pay you received should at least lessen the blow. Goodness, I wish I had your agent.
Stay Blessed &
Here's My Obamaism for the Day: President Obama is to be congratulated and commended for having won powerful support from the Supreme Court in his effort to keep America Healthy. Kudos to our president - GDW