When Ann Curry first appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” 15 years ago, there weren’t many faces like hers on morning television.
Curry was born in Guam to Bob Curry, from Pueblo, Colorado who is of Cherokee, French, German, Scottish and Irish descent, and Hiroe Nagase, who is from Japan, according to Marie Claire. Her childhood followed her father’s military career, and she was raised in San Diego and Alameda, California, Japan, Virginia Beach, Virginia and Oregon.
“For all of you, who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line,” an emotional Curry said this Thursday morning as she said her goodbye.
She quickly moved on to discuss her next step.
“They’re giving me some fancy new titles, which essentially mean I get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing,” Curry went on to say.
USA Today reported this morning Curry’s new multiyear contract with NBC has her “leading a seven-person unit with a ticket to cover the world’s biggest stories, from the civil uprising in Syria to the plight of the poor in America.” According to reports, Curry will produce network specials and pieces for NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Rock Center– and Today– and she’ll “occasionally fill in as anchor on Nightly News and elsewhere.”
Curry declined to discuss her salary with USA Today but said reports of a $10 million or $20 million payout are wrong. “I can say that I’d love to earn that much,” she said.
There are also dozens of rumors speculating why Curry was forced to leave the show, The NY Times’ Mike Hale, who is of Asian descent himself, alluded to her race as a factor that may have contributed to audiences not being able to connect with her.
“I don’t know what personal factors might come into play in creating an on-screen distance. You could speculate about certain things. Ms. Curry is biracial (Japanese-American) and spent part of her early childhood living overseas, a situation that has been known to generate self-reliance and reserve,” Hale wrote in a story titled “Morning TV’s Stepsister Feels the Ratings Heat.”
The New York Times reports that “Today” correspondent Savannah Guthrie is in negotiations to fill the her spot alongside Lauer.
In 1978, Curry began an internship at KTVL in Medford, Oregon, eventually becoming the station’s first female news reporter.