Why ‘Today Show’ Star Savannah Guthrie Said Replacing Ann Curry ‘Was Not a Good Situation’

Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show is a mainstay on the morning news program. Co-anchoring each day with Hoda Kotb, Guthrie has earned a reputation as a solid journalist and amiable television personality.

Yet her start on Today was marred by the controversy surrounding Guthrie’s taking over for co-host Ann Curry, who was publicly ousted after just one year in the anchor chair alongside Matt Lauer.

Ann Curry and Savannah Guthrie of the 'Today Show'
Ann Curry and Savannah Guthrie of the ‘Today Show’ | Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Ann Curry’s tearful exit

On the Today Show news desk for over a decade, Curry was promoted to co-anchor the NBC show with Lauer after Meredith Vieira’s departure in 2011. After just one year, word started spreading that Lauer wasn’t happy with his on-air partner and was orchestrating her termination.

In June 2012, Curry signed off from the show with a message to her viewers. “I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but, man, I did try!” Curry said tearfully, according to Vulture.

In 2018, Curry broke her silence on her exit from the Today Show, revealing the emotional turmoil it caused.

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“It hurt like hell,” she told People. “It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been honest and true, I’ve tried to stay pure. I’ve tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I’ve stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I’m also proud of myself.”

Savannah Guthrie takes Ann Curry’s seat

Guthrie served as co-anchor of Today’s third hour in 2011, as well as holding the posts of White House correspondent and chief legal analyst. When rumors were swirling of Curry’s imminent departure, Guthrie’s name was at the top of the list to take her place.

“Anyone would dream to get to host the Today Show one day,” Guthrie told the New York Times in a recent interview. “But not like that. I knew it was not a good situation, and potentially it’d be end of my career.”

The former Court TV personality was hesitant when she was approached with the offer to replace Curry. Earning the anchor chair under such tense conditions made Guthrie fearful of the outcome.

“When my boss asked me, ‘Would you want to do this job?’ I said ‘I don’t know,’” Guthrie admitted. “Not because I was being coy – I truly didn’t know! I wondered, ‘If I do this, and if it’s such a controversy, it would be so easy to fail and never work in this business again.’”

‘I know how lucky I am’

Expertly balancing hard news with fluff, Guthrie is sometimes underestimated when it comes to asking questions some journalists may avoid.

“When people see you on morning shows, they see you not only doing the tough stuff but also doing the fun stuff that we do… maybe that overshadows that,” Kotb said, noting Guthrie’s tenacity. “I think some people forget that’s who she is.”

Balancing her home life with her husband and two kids, Guthrie is clearly aware of her prestigious position in network news.

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“I’ve interviewed Tom Hanks five times now,” Ms. Guthrie said. “He calls me ‘Savvy.’ What are you talking about? I’m Savannah from Tucson. There’s no reason I should be here. I didn’t work any harder than anybody else. I’m just in on the joke. I know how lucky I am.”