NEW YORK - Ann Curry stepped down as co-host of the Today Show on Thursday.
"This is not easy to say but today is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host of Today," Curry said, fighting back tears. "I will still be part of the Today Show family but I'm going to have a new title and a new role."
Curry, 55, co-hosted the Today show for a year and will now be covering the world's biggest stories. Her title changed to NBC News national and international correspondent/anchor and 'Today' anchor-at-large.
"I am so grateful, especially to all of you who watch because 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 are why I have ventured into dangerous places, interviewed dictators, jumped off of planes and off of bridges, climbed mountains and landed in the south pole and convinced the Dali Lama to come live in our studio. I have loved you and wanted to give you the world," Curry said.
Curry thanked the Today Show, the crew and said she was looking forward to the new stories she would be bringing to NBC.
"For all of you who saw me as a ground-breaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line. But, man, I did try," Curry said.
Curry had been with the Today Show for 15 years.
"It's not goodbye by a long shot," Today Show co-anchor Matt Lauer said.
Declining ratings for the Today Show led to speculation of Curry's removal from the morning broadcast. Savannah Guthrie has been asked to replace Curry as the co-host of Today.
NBC's News Release On Curry's New Role
This morning on NBC News' "Today," Ann Curry announced that she will be taking on a new role as NBC News National and International Correspondent/Anchor and "Today" Anchor at Large. Her new expanded assignment is effective immediately and also includes a long-term deal with NBC News.
"I will still be a part of the TODAY show family but I'm going to have a new title and a new role," Curry said on this morning's broadcast. "I am so grateful, especially to all of you who watch because Matt and I and everyone who sits on this couch, we often call ourselves a family," she said. "They're giving me some fancy new titles which essentially means that I'm going to get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing… I love all of you, especially all of you who are behind the scenes, behind the cameras."
In her new role, Curry will report for all platforms of NBC News including "Today," "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams," "Rock Center with Brian Williams," "Dateline," MSNBC, and she will have a major presence across all digital properties. A newly created NBC News multi-person unit will be dedicated to cultivating and producing each of Curry's stories and will work closely with all of the news division's franchises. Curry will also serve as anchor for multiple NBC News primetime specials.
Statement from Steve Capus, NBC News President: "I've had the pleasure of working with Ann for nearly 20 years, and have seen firsthand how her passion for reporting has made her one of America's most trusted journalists. She's the definition of a trailblazer, always broadcasting with an unmatched combination of grit and humanity. This new role allows her a bigger platform to do what she does best – to tell the stories that might not otherwise be told."
Statement from Jim Bell, "Today" Executive Producer: "I know of only one journalist who in just a matter of years has travelled to Sudan six times, broken exclusive world news with top world leaders, and broadcast live from both the South Pole and Mount Kilimanjaro. Ann has quite literally reached amazing heights in her career, and with this new role, she will continue her intrepid climb bringing viewers her signature brand of humanitarian reporting."
Curry has been a member of the "Today" family for more than 15 years. She served as co-anchor of the broadcast from June 2011 to June 2012, and as news anchor from March 1997 to June 2011. Curry also served as anchor of "Dateline NBC" from May 2005 until September 2011. She regularly substitute anchors for "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" and reports for "Rock Center with Brian Williams."
Curry has distinguished herself in global humanitarian reporting, frequently traveling to remote areas of the world to cover under-reported stories. She has travelled to Sudan six times since 2006 to report on the violence and ethnic cleansing taking place in Darfur, Chad and the Nuba Mountains. Curry has conducted numerous exclusive interviews with world leaders and dignitaries including three sit-downs with Dalai Lama, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's first-ever interview with an American news organization, and an interview with former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, just two months before her assassination in December 2007. In September 2011, Curry was granted the first-ever behind-the-scenes access to the daily schedule of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was in this exclusive interview that Curry broke the news of his plans to free the much-publicized two American hikers who had been held hostage since 2009.
Curry has traveled the world reporting from war-torn areas, and she was the first network news anchor to report on the refugee crisis caused by the genocide in Kosovo in 1999. As part of "Today's" unprecedented Ends of the Earth series, Curry spent ten days in Antarctica and the South Pole in November 2007, and she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in November 2008 to shed light on the global effects of climate change.
Curry has covered the major news stories of the past decade-and-a-half including three presidential elections, the September 11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Hurricane Katrina. She spent a week in Japan covering the destruction from the massive earthquake and tsunami of 2011. In the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, she travelled to Pakistan to report live on the developing situation on the ground in that country, and in November 2011, Curry travelled to Baghdad for an exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden.
Curry has earned eight Emmy Awards, four Golden Mikes, several Associated Press Certificates of Excellence, three Gracie Allen Awards, a Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications, and an award for Excellence in Reporting from the NAACP. In June 2007, Curry received the Simon Wiesenthal Medal of Valor for her extensive reporting in Darfur. She has been honored by Americares, Save the Children, Women of Concern, the Anti-Defamation League as a Woman of Achievement, and the Asian American Journalists Association, receiving its National Journalism Award in 2003. She has also won numerous awards for her charity work, primarily for breast cancer research.
Curry graduated from the University of Oregon School of Journalism in 1978.
Copyright 2012 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.