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Ann Curry 'Tortured' at NBC 'Today' in Final Months, Book Claims

Ann Curry 'Tortured' at NBC 'Today' in Final Months, Book Claims

By    |   Friday, 19 April 2013 08:08 AM

Ann Curry's ousting at NBC's "Today" show last June was reportedly orchestrated by the morning show's producers over several months under the code name "Operation Bambi."

In a book set to be released April 23, "Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV," author Brian Stelter claims Curry, 56, was subjected to consistent humiliation by the production staff at "Today."

"Curry felt that the boys' club atmosphere behind the scenes at 'Today' undermined her from the start, and she told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture," Stelter writes.

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An unidentified "Today" staffer told Stelter that "a lot of time in the control room was spent making fun of Ann's outfit choices or just generally messing with her," reported the New York Daily News.

At the heart of the apparent effort to have Curry removed from the show was executive producer Jim Bell, according to the book.

Stelter said Bell was responsible for labeling the apparent effort to oust Curry as "Operation Bambi," after a colleague compared getting rid of the veteran journalist to "killing Bambi."

Bell, who Stelter claimed had opposed the hiring of Curry from the outset, was also reportedly responsible for commissioning a blooper reel that featured Curry’s "worst on-air mistakes."

Bell denied having been involved in the blooper reel, reported the Daily Beast.

Hours after Curry’s tearful televised departure, Bell had also reportedly treated his top producers to breakfast, during which "one observer said that he led the group in raising wineglasses to toast her departure," Stelter writes.

Additionally, the apparently male-dominated control room at "Today" had also spent "a lot of time" ridiculing Curry’s often colorful outfits, writes Stelter.

At one point, after Curry wore a bright yellow dress, "Today" staff printed a photo of Curry juxtaposed to the "Sesame Street" character Big Bird with the question, "Who wore it best?" on the paper, Stelter claims.

On another occasion, shortly after being named co-anchor on "Today," boxes containing Curry's personal effects that were to be relocated to her new office wound up in a coat closet instead.

The apparent dislike of Curry was not limited to the show's production staff.

Co-host Matt Lauer reportedly was not a fan of Curry's either.

The book claims that at one point, Lauer had allegedly told a production assistant about Curry, "I can't believe I am sitting next to this woman," reported the Daily News.

Lauer later spoke out about Curry's firing, which many believed he had a hand in, telling the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, "I don’t think the show and the network handled the transition well."

"You don’t have to be Einstein to know that . . . It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well," Lauer added.

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Even Curry's predecessor Katie Couric was not a fan, having reportedly once described Curry as "melodramatic" and "fake," reported the Beast.

Since her departure from "Today," Stelter writes that Curry keeps to herself in her Connecticut home.

"She still often woke before dawn as if she were about to go on the air," writes Stelter. "Some mornings, she cried as she read e-mail and Twitter messages from fans."

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Ann Curry's ousting at NBC's "Today" show last June was reportedly orchestrated by the morning show's producers over several months under the code name "Operation Bambi."
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Friday, 19 April 2013 08:08 AM
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