Ann Curry gave a tearful goodbye to the "Today" show this morning.
Fighting back tears and with her voice breaking, she told the audience, "It's not how I expected to leave this couch after 15 years."
Curry confirmed the worst-kept secret in the TV biz: that she's been forced out of her anchor position on NBC's "Today" show. The surprising part was that today was her last day on the program.
Reacting to the news, Katie Couric wrote on her live chat, @katiecouric on @anncurry "it really broke my heard (heart) this morning…i know it's really hard for everyone on the show. "
Sitting beside Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Natalie Morales, she referred to them as "family," but, speaking directly to the audience watching, she added, "You are the real 'Today' show family."
"I have loved you and have wanted to give you the world," she said.
Curry said that NBC has given her "some fancy new titles" and she will travel all over the world, contributing stories to the network, including on "Today."
"I'm not even sure I can sleep in anymore," she said ruefully.
According to USA Today, Curry has signed a new multi-year deal with NBC News under which she'll serve as a national and international correspondent and contribute to the organization's many news programs.
Curry then thanked some of the people behind the scenes, saying "I love all of you."
Perhaps the most emotional moment came when she referred to all of those "who saw me as a groundbreaker." "I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line, but man did I try" she said tearfully.
"So sorry I turned into a sob sister," she added. "I hope you'll wish me well."
Referring to her tearful goodbye, Lauer told Curry that she has "the biggest heart in the business and you've put it on display every single day."
He singled out the way she handled the story of the American hikers detained in Iran. Roker remembered how Curry reunited a family after the tsunami and Natalie Morales pointed out Curry's efforts on behalf of returning military war veterans.
"Most importantly you made us better," said Lauer, adding that Curry will contribute to "Today" during the Olympics.
Earlier, in what USA Today described as an emotional interview with the newspaper, Curry predicted that today would be a "bit of a tough day" for her, adding, "I'm going to have to tell our viewers. That's what makes me more emotional than anything. I don't want to leave them. I love them. And I will really miss them."
There had been speculation that Curry is the reason why the "Today" show now finds itself in a neck-and-neck ratings battle with ABC's "Good Morning America" after many years on top, but Curry denied that's the case. She declared, "I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries."
Curry also scoffed at the idea that she and co-anchor Matt Lauer lacked on-air chemistry, though she said, "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." She told the paper that she didn't think she was given enough time to work out those kinks.
Curry said the information leaks to the media over the past week regarding her status on "Today" have "hurt deeply." But she denied reports that she was previously making 10 million dollars per year as a "Today" anchor.