'Today' producers hatched plan to force out Ann Curry: Report
Producers at “Today” devised an elaborate plan called “Operation Bambi” to push out co-host Ann Curry about a year after she took the gig, according to a book excerpt published Thursday on The New York Times’ website.
The excerpt, part of a book from Times media reporter Brian Stelter, details in part the circumstances around Curry’s rocky ouster in what Stelter calls a “public-relations debacle, deeply damaging the most lucrative franchise in television news.”
Here are few excerpts from the bombshell report:
-- Curry felt that the boys’ club atmosphere behind the scenes at “Today” undermined her from the start, and she told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture.
-- One morning-TV veteran suggested to [executive producer Jim Bell] that firing Curry, who had been co-hosting for only about six months at that point, would be tantamount to “killing Bambi.” Undeterred, Bell hatched a careful three-part plan:
1. Persuade Matt Lauer to extend his expiring contract;
2. Oust Curry;
3. Replace her with Savannah Guthrie.
-- One staff person recalled that “a lot of time in the control room was spent making fun of Ann’s outfit choices or just generally messing with her.”