Ann Curry’s Today Ouster Dubbed “Operation Bambi”



Just how unbearable was Today for Ann Curry in the months leading up to her exit? According to an excerpt published by the New York Times from Brian Stelter’s new book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, Curry told friends “her final months were a form of professional torture.”


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.” On one memorable spring morning, Curry wore a bright yellow dress that spawned snarky comparisons to Big Bird. The staff person said that others in the control room, which included 14 men and 3 women, according to my head count one morning, Photoshopped a picture of Big Bird next to Curry and asked co-workers to vote on “Who wore it best?”


 

When Curry finally made her tear-filled departure from Today she looked a bit like a deer caught in the headlights, which may have been appropriate, considering the plan to oust her had been reportedly nicknamed “Operation Bambi.”


By comparison, “Today” had stuck to the same camera angles and scripted intros and outros since the 1990s. Some suggested that the show was getting stale. Others privately wondered if Lauer’s star power was beginning to fade. By January, Bell had another culprit in mind: Ann Curry. So insistent was Bell that Curry was the problem — that she was “out of position,” as he put it in an e-mail to his deputies — that he had been talking about it with friends for months. One morning-TV veteran suggested to him 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 Lauer to extend his expiring contract; 2.) oust Curry; 3.) replace her with Savannah Guthrie. According to this source, Bell called his plan Operation Bambi.


Comments

luverica's picture
Member since:
16 March 2008
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3 hours 1 min

Reading this makes me quite sad because I like and respect Ann Curry. It seems to me at this point that the best way for TODAY to save face from this increasingly PR nightmare is to replace Matt Lauer. Let’s face it. He’s been coming off like a royal douche for quite a while now and the show could use some new blood. Plus, after years of being at the top of the morning show ratings, it’s starting to get their butt beaten almost regularly by GOOD MORNING AMERICA. There seems to be some toxic energy going over there at TODAY right now. As the Joker from Tim Burton’s Batman would say, “This show needs an enema!”

pferrando's picture
Member since:
28 June 2012
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14 hours 48 min

Nice to see this crap goes on at every office. Nice.

I just left a place exactly like it.

Ann is getting the last laugh hopefully as Lauer's popularity is in the toilet, and the show's ratings are diving...being beaten by GMA.

You are better off not being there Ann. And to the people in the control room...I can't wait until the day you are handed your walking papers. Shame.

Member since:
9 April 2009
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13 weeks 5 days

These people just sound evil.

soapjunkie88's picture
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3 July 2008
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10 hours 8 min

Matt Lauer is done. Who honestly enjoys seeing his face anymore?

TODAY needs to be reorganized. Let those evil people walk ... maybe even create a new morning show like CBS did. TODAY is a brand that is pretty damaged through this PR nightmare.

Member since:
22 October 2010
Last activity:
4 days 20 hours

Filthy animals treating a person like that. What goes around comes around so these people better know that Karma will come knocking at their door one day. Payback is a bitch.

blake3b's picture
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3 March 2009
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11 hours 25 min

Well it's no wonder the show is getting killed by the competition and Matt Lauer has lost his popularity since then. Karma, what goes around comes around and it's definitely doing that in this case! Just wait til all those people who did that to her get theirs! All this news just makes me like and respect Ann Curry more and more!

SoapArmageddon's picture
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22 January 2011
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3 days 14 hours

They would need to do more than let Lauer go. (And I'm not sure how it works, but I think they'd still have to pay him that $25 million if they do.)

It sounds like there was a whole Mean Girls thing going on over there. They need to clean house from top to bottom. What's really awful too is the fact that Ann is contractually barred from taking other jobs.

Member since:
5 October 2012
Last activity:
9 hours 37 min

Horrible people. Matt Lauer is disgusting and deserves all the bad press he gets. Nothing about that show feels authentic. Like a soap, you need the right mix of vets, talented newbies, and chemistry. Today has none of that.

GHteenybopper's picture
Member since:
29 March 2010
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5 weeks 1 day

That's so cold and disgusting for grown adults to be behaving this way. Such a shame. Bullying doesn't only happen in schools with kids.

luverica's picture
Member since:
16 March 2008
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3 hours 1 min

If I’m not mistaken, isn’t this what led to former TODAY host Bryant Gumbel’s ouster from the show – a bad attitude that his co-hosts and the higher ups realized have gotten out of control and just couldn’t take it anymore. Matt Lauer didn’t seem to always be like this but I never liked Bryant Gumbel.

angrierblackerman's picture
Member since:
8 September 2009
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16 hours 31 min

Well now we know the crew of the Today Show is mostly a bunch of bitchy queens...I hope that show tanks even more.

TV Gord's picture
Member since:
18 February 2009
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1 hour 51 min

I wonder how many segments they did on bullying while they were behaving this way. The irony of it all!

I'm reminded of Martin Mull's famous line, "Show business is just high school with money".

Member since:
26 December 2012
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7 weeks 4 days

I'm not the biggest Matt Lauer fan. Just never cared his style. BUT I feel like be had nothing to do with this and is now the new scapegoat. This seems like producers and executives who brought all this on.

Member since:
19 June 2009
Last activity:
1 day 11 hours

For someone who worked there so long, (what was it, 16 years?) she sure deserved much better treatment. She had a different style that I liked (not as much as Meredith, but more than Katie, and more than Matt). They never knew how to play to her strengths.

And they continue to blame her for everything, including not hugging Matt on her last day. In their continuing efforts to trash her they're making themselves look bad. They should have learned from how badly they looked while dumping Conan.

shirls429's picture
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13 April 2010
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10 hours 40 min

Angry I'm so sick of hearing about Ann Curry,never liked her as co-anchor,please just let it go.

kays a ynr fan's picture
Member since:
26 December 2012
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51 weeks 4 days

Never cared for the Today Show and Matt Lauer is the reason. They treated Ann Curry very badly. Shame on them.

Stare