Let’s talk about the strange case of Ann Curry. Ann said bye-bye to the Today Show Thursday morning. I usually don’t watch morning television but the promos had promised news of a new FDA approved diet pill and I thought, “Oh, good, my troubles are over.” A train wreck and a magic pill - now that’s a good show.
Ann started crying right away and then apologized for being “a sob sister”. Then Matt, in his effort to console Ann, did something weird and avuncular and patronizing. He kissed the side of her head - right in her hair that was probably heavily sprayed. I hope he got a mouthful of spray because right about then, he said something that almost encapsulated why Ann hadn’t succeeded: He said, “You have the biggest heart. You’ve made us all better.” Crap, Matt. Nothing about her talents as a journalist? No reel of her greatest hits?
“The biggest heart” is probably why Ann couldn’t hold on to the job. Ann was too caring. She leaned in and spoke in hushed tones. She seemed as upset as the person who was upset. I used to know a person like that. This woman always approached me in hushed tones, rubbed my shoulder as if she was delivering bad news about my health. How can you feel relaxed around a person like that?
There’s a paradox about Ann. Ann is ....tidy is the best adjective that comes to mind. Tidy hairstyle, tidy wardrobe. She appeared to have come out of a black and white movie. She was soft spoken, self-effacing and earnest.
The only trait that was out of character was her intense desire to make it to Number One or Number One and a half on the Today show. She waited it out for fifteen years. She even stuck it out when they hired Meredith to replace Katie even though Ann was the obvious choice. She might have prayed to Saint Jude, the patron of lost causes because, against all odds, she finally got the job.
On Thursday, Ann choked back tears as she apologized to her fans. "For those of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line.” (I thought Barbara Walters was the groundbreaker.) “This is not the way I expected to leave?” How did Ann expect to leave? She lasted fifteen years in the Circus Maximus. That’s more than the full distance, Ann. You’re a champ. There are news stories that say Ann was clasping hands and clinging to her co-workers; reluctant to let go of her show but Savannah Guthrie finally disengaged. She knew Ann would not even make it out of the next commercial break.
NBC gave sweet Ann a glorified title, anchor at large, and promised lots of fun trips. Take it, Ann, and be happy. That show is probably going down.
Here’s the report on the new diet pill. It messes with your brain to make you believe you are full. You still have to diet and exercise and the glib know-it-all, Dr. Nancy Schneiderman, is skeptical.