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Matt Lauer Was '100 Percent' Behind Ann Curry's Ouster from 'TODAY' Show

USMagazine, Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 8:40am (PDT)
  • There's a reason why Ann Curry didn't bother to hug co-host Matt Lauer during her tearful goodbye last Thursday on "TODAY."

    After weeks of speculation, Curry, 55, was shown the door after just one year as co-host of NBC's smash morning show, which has been suffering from flagging ratings.

    "Matt Lauer is 100 percent behind Ann leaving," a source tells Us Weekly. In the days leading up to her emotional on-air farewell, Curry (who joined the show in 1997 as news reader) and Lauer, 54, "were really icy to each other, and she refused to speak to him all week."

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    Indeed, the tension was palpable on-air to millions of viewers. "The body language was extremely tense," the insider points out. And her final day, says a second source, "was like a funeral in a way."

    First announcing her departure from "TODAY" -- and a new, seven-year contract with NBC News to cover international stories across the network's various news programs -- to USA Today last Wednesday, Curry dimissed criticism that she and longtime host Lauer (who had successful on-air partnerships with both Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira) lacked chemistry.

    VIDEO: Watch Ann and Matt's tense body language during her emotional goodbye

    "You know, Matt and I have had great on-air chemistry for 14 years, been part of the No. 1 winning team for a history-making number of years," she opined. "That said, I just finished my freshman year as co-host. In every single co-host's first year, there have been kinks to be worked out, and perhaps I deserve as much blame for that as anyone."

    Curry's replacement, former White House Correspondent and 9 a.m. hour "TODAY" host Savannah Guthrie, was announced the following day.

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    Of Curry's job switch, NBC News president Steve Capus told the Hollywood Reporter: "I think ['TODAY'] was not where her real passion was, . . . In her heart of hearts, I think she would admit that. I think her real passion is built around reporting on international stories . . . I think we've now come up with a role that will play to her strengths."

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