(NEW YORK) — The drama over Ann Curry’s departure from NBC’s Today show last summer continues to drag on.
It’s no secret that her firing from the co-anchor spot was a messy one. NBC’s handling of the transition from Curry to current co-host Savannah Guthrie — and Matt Lauer’s alleged role in making it happen — has been the subject of a couple of recent articles, on The Daily Beast and in New York magazine.
Brian Stelter, a media reporter for The New York Times, sheds even more light on the matter in his new book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, due out next week. The newspaper has published a lengthy article on its website adapted from the book.
Stelter writes that former Today executive producer Jim Bell was the driving force behind the plan, which Bell reportedly dubbed “Operation Bambi,” to replace Curry with Guthrie. The name of the plan apparently was inspired by someone warning Bell that firing Curry would be tantamount to “killing Bambi.”
For her part, Stelter writes, Curry felt that after her promotion in 2011 she was not given a fair shake by those running the Today show. She is said to have told friends that the months leading up to her firing in June 2012 were, in Stelter’s words, “a form of professional torture.”
Perhaps she felt that way because, reportedly, she had been ridiculed behind the scenes. Stelter writes that Bell once arranged for a blooper reel of Curry’s worst on-air mistakes. Another time, staff members reportedly created a Photoshopped picture of Curry side-by-side with Big Bird after she wore a bright yellow dress on the air.
Sometime after her teary farewell on Today, which resulted in an outpouring of support from fans, Curry reportedly told colleagues, “It feels like I died, and I’ve seen my own wake.”
Since the switch was made, Curry has appeared sparingly on NBC News programming. Meanwhile, the Today show is now facing rumors that network execs are seeking a replacement for Lauer.
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