‘Today’ Mishandles Ann Curry’s Departure

Savannah Guthrie was officially named the new Today show co-host, just a day after Ann Curry gave her tearful on-air good-bye. Now the challenge for Today is making the transition to a new host without alienating the fans of the old one. To do that, according to the NY Times, the show is trying to keep the change low-key.

The problem is this change was anything but. There were leaks and speculation for about a week. And on the day of her departure, there was this big story in USA Today.

A good deal of the criticism is being lobbed at the show  — click here and here — for the humiliating treatment of Curry, a journalist that most agreed is good at the harder news stories and seems like a pretty nice person. The New York Daily News says Today went on as as “nothing had happened.” The Washington Post also notes the minimal “fanfare.”

Twitter and everything else digital was on fire with word about Curry’s imminent departure. The time to come out and say something that recognizes the bigness of the issue was early on, when the chatter started. “We value all of our on-air talent and will be making a big announcement in the days to come,” for instance. Something that acknowledges that change is afoot and they’re trying to handle it in a respectful way.

Over the next couple of weeks, people will be keeping a close eye to see how Guthrie is doing. With the holiday coming, the program may benefit from the number of people on vacation or otherwise not paying as close attention to the news. At the same time, companies and brands mentioned will likely get a little boost from a slow news week. (Couldn’t be any more news than there was this week right?)

Moreover, PRs will get a sense of which direction the show is going in. For those who don’t know, BuzzFeed‘s got a whole page with info about Guthrie.

[image: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters]

Publish date: June 29, 2012 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/today-mishandles-ann-currys-departure/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT