In an excerpt from Brian Stelter’s new book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning, it has all the blow-by-blow details of Ann Curry’s humiliating departure from the Today show. He explained how Curry’s tenure on the show was doomed from the very start leading the show’s executive producer, Jim Bell, to not-so-secretly execute her firing. They even named the plot to oust Curry as “Operation Bambi.”
Curry, who was forced to leave the show less than a year after she began as co-host, felt bullied and belittled by the network boys club. “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,” Stelter wrote.
Curry endured a blooper reel that the crew made of Curry’s on-screen gaffes, and moving boxes of Curry’s belongings into the coat closet, as if she had already been kicked out, and mocking of her clothing choices in the control room. An unidentified “Today” staffer told Stelter that “a lot of time in the control room was spent making fun of Ann’s outfit choices or just generally messing with her.”
According to Stelter, Bell never wanted Curry for the job and had quietly reached out to Megyn Kelly of Fox News and even Robin Roberts, and successors to Meredith Viera in 2011. The network ended up picking Curry because they worried that if she left, she might end up as a direct competitor on another network. Co-host Matt Lauer wasn’t a fan of Curry’s either. According to the excerpt, Lauer allegedly told a production assistant about Curry, “I can’t believe I am sitting next to this woman.”
Stelter’s full-length book on the subject, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV comes out next week.