If you’ve been a longtime viewer of NBC’s Today Show, you’ll remember the various journalists that have hung out alongside now-disgraced host Matt Lauer. While former co-host Katie Couric has gone on to mega success of her own, more recent additions to the show have left on less amicable terms with the network and their now scandal-ridden former colleague.
Back in 2012, just one short year into her contract, journalist Ann Curry left the show with a tearful goodbye. At the time, outsiders were not exactly sure what happened. With Lauer’s ousting from his show yesterday, however, fans are going back to the rumors surrounding Curry’s departure, and a story about an incident dubbed “Operation Bambi” that pointed to Lauer’s comeuppance as retribution for treatment of past co-hosts, most notably Curry.
Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, a book published in 2013, outlined “Operation Bambi,” NBC’s not-so-top-secret plan to get Curry out of Lauer’s way. In the book, author Brian Stetler says that with Lauer’s then-contract coming up at the end of 2012, and with Curry able to leave the show and go to a competitor if she wasn’t promoted, the network tried keeping her from leaving and destroying their ratings by giving her the co-hosting job when Meredith Vieira retired in 2011. Lauer was less than pleased.
Stetler goes on to say that in his 2012 contract negotiations, Lauer essentially told NBC to choose between them, which led to Curry’s firing. But what did Lauer reportedly dislike about his new co-host? According to the book, Curry would not abide by the hostile environment that Lauer promoted and ran as the lead host of the show — and she had no qualms in fighting back against his “boys club.”
Although Curry has never commented on her departure, she has laid low since leaving Today, cropping up now and again in various journalistic roles. Since yesterday’s ousting of Lauer, however, fans of the anchor have come to her defense pointing out that she may finally be getting retribution in the face of the embarrassing and heartbreaking way she was forced to leave her job.
Fans have also pointed to Lauer’s other co-hosts post-Curry and their quick removal from the show, wondering if they, too, were openly defiant in the face of Lauer’s reported dominance over, and harassment of, multiple female employees. Tamron Hall came to mind for many as she was ousted in recent memory from her 9am spot on Today. Hall was bumped this year in favor of Megyn Kelly, another in the seemingly long line of women ousted in favor of their male counterpart.
While most of his former colleagues have landed in new roles quite quickly, it took Curry a few years before coming back to regular television hosting, which she’s doing with her new PBS show, We’ll Meet Again, which pairs survivors of disaster with the people who saved them. As for this week’s shakeup at NBC, Curry was stoic when speaking with People about the whole thing, telling the mag, “The women’s movement got us into the workplace, but it didn’t make us safe once we got there.”
She went on: “We need to move this revolution [of women’s and victims rights] forward and make our workplaces safe. Corporate America is quite clearly failing to do so, and unless it does something to change that, we need to keep doing more ourselves.”
What do you think of Ann Curry’s message about workplace safety? Tell us @BritandCo!
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