By Robyn Ross,
Ann Curry officially announced her exit from the Today show Thursday, choking back tears as she thanked her colleagues and viewers.
"I never expected to leave this couch after 15 years, but I am so grateful, especially to all of you who watch," Curry said, while sitting with co-host Matt Lauer, Natalie Morales and Al Roker. "Matt and I and everyone who sits on this couch we often call ourselves a family. But you are the real Today show family."
"You have the biggest heart in the business," Lauer said. "You put it on display every single day in this studio...the way you care about people comes through you in every single story you report. ... Most importantly, you've made us better." Lauer then praised Curry's coverage of the hikers held hostage in Iran, while Roker mentioned her coverage of the Tsunami.
No official announcement about Curry's replacement has been made, though Savannah Guthrie has reportedly been offered the job. Curry said she will remain a part of the Today family in a new role as Today's Anchor at Large and National and International Correspondent for NBC News.
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"They're giving me some fancy new title which essentially means I'm going to get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific new team of my choosing," Curry said. "We're going to go all over the world. We're going to do great work I hope."
News broke last week that NBC was planning to replace Curry. Some speculated that the move was because Curry and Lauer lacked chemistry or that the show lost in the ratings war to Good Morning America for the first time in 16 years after Curry became an anchor. Curry, who says she was upset that news of her departure leaked early, denies both claims.
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"I don't know who has been behind the leaks, but no question they've hurt deeply," Curry told USA Today on Wednesday. "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. 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."I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries," she continued. "And my bosses have said to me there are many factors involved. There is no doubt that the rating wars have become meaner and less focused on our responsibilities as journalists."However, Curry did express some regret during her final sign off. "For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball to the finish line," she said. "But, man I did try."
"After all of these years, I don't even know if I can sleep in anymore," she continued. "I'm not even sure that I can. But I know that whatever time I wake up, I'll be missing you."Watch the tearful moment below. Will you miss Curry?
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