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Ann Curry to Depart NBC News

Ann Curry, the veteran NBC News correspondent who was pushed from the “Today” show in 2012 after not being able to strike a rapport with co-host Matt Lauer and the show’s producers, is leaving the network to start her own production company.

As part of the deal, Curry will be free to devise content for TV networks that compete with those owned by NBCUniversal, as well as digital outlets that are distributed online or via broadband. NBCUniversal will provide “seed” funding for the venture.

““In today’s world of fragmented media, this is the time to seize the opportunity to improve the way we distribute and even tell stories,” Curry said in a statement.” I want to expand my drive to give voice to the voiceless to emerging platforms and produce both scripted and non-scripted content, in addition to continuing to report on-air about stories that matter.”

Curry did not respond to an email seeking comment. Robert Barnett, an attorney who has represented Curry in her dealings with NBC in the recent past, referred an inquiry to the correspondent.

The New York Post previously reported news of Curry’s agreement to depart.

“We’re proud to support Ann in her new venture, and we look forward to more of her exceptional storytelling,” said Pat Fili-Krushel, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group, in a statement. “She is committed to uncovering critical issues, humanizing them, and ultimately helping viewers understand and connect.”

Curry served as news anchor on “Today” from 1997 until 2011, when she was named co-anchor alongside Lauer after Meredith Vieira stepped down from the post. But the two personalities never seemed to gel, and Curry found it hard to pivot from covering news to highlighting the lighter fare that is often a part of the morning-news cycle.

Even so, the manner in which NBC handled her exit only served to alienate viewers, who were already beginning to search for other eggs-and-toast programming. “Today” was tackling more lurid stories and attempting to parry with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” which has less of “Today’s” serious bent built into its brand.

“Today” has yet to recover. The show lost its first-place ranking to “GMA” in 2012 and has come in second since that time. Since leaving “Today,” Curry has served as a national and international correspondent for NBC News and an “anchor at large” for “Today,”  and has made sporadic appearances on the program she once called her home

As part of her deal with NBC after leaving “Today,” Curry notched a salary said to be worth around $12 million annually. Over the course of her career, Curry has earned seven Emmy awards and the Simon Wiesenthal Medal of Valor for her extensive reporting in Darfur, among other honors.

She is following a path others in similar situations have blazed. When CNN wanted to replace anchor Soledad O’Brien in the network’s morning program in 2013, it agreed to work with her as she set up a production company that would supply programming to multiple outlets, including CNN. Since that time, O’Brien has done work for HBO, Al Jazeera America, and several others.

 

(Updated 1:25 PM PT)

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