The first excerpts of Brian Stelter‘s upcoming book Top of the Morning, went online this morning, and will be featured in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, ahead of Tuesday’s publication. This excerpt takes a deep dive into the “dysfunction” at “Today” that led to Ann Curry‘s forced departure from the show last June. Curry was named the show’s co-host in 2011, but discussions about moving her off the show were happening long before, something Stelter told us in our Media Beat interview (running next week on TVNewser). As far back as 2003, Stelter writes, “executives were already trying to nudge Curry off the co-host track:”
They saw that she and Lauer, who had hosted together dozens of times, demonstrated a distinct lack of chemistry. “I don’t think anybody back then thought Ann was right,” said Tom Touchet, the executive producer of “Today” at the time, who called her a “wacky chick” with a “great heart.” Neal Shapiro, who succeeded Lack as president of NBC News, suggested that Curry be moved to “Dateline NBC,” the prime-time newsmagazine. “The audience would understand moving to prime time was a great promotion, and there would be no backlash against ‘Today,’’” Shapiro recalled. “By making her a host of ‘Dateline,’ we could open up the news-anchor job on ‘Today’ to someone like Natalie Morales or Hoda Kotb” and start publicly grooming another successor for Couric.