Ann Curry Promoted to Co-Anchor NBC's Today

Longtime NBC News fixture Ann Curry will co-anchor the struggling network’s most profitable show starting June, replacing Meredith Vieira alongside Matt Lauer on Today. Curry, whose mother is Japanese, has been the show’s news reader since March of 1997.

There has been no official announcement regarding the reason for Viera’s departure. Rumors have linked it to her husband’s ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis and her youngest daughter’s college preparations.

The move represents a big risk for NBC which was bought by Comcast in February. Last year Today, which airs 7 – 11 a.m. weekdays, produced $535 million in advertising revenues, up 5.6% from a year earlier. It’s chief rival Good Morning America took in $314 million, up 6.3%, while third-place The Early Show on CBS grossed $178 million, down 7.7%.

Today has been on the air since 1952. At of this month its lead over GMA has slipped to only 700,000 viewers, the slimmest lead since 2005, according to Nielsen. But its audience vitality remains solid, with 38% more viewers in the desirable 25 and 54 age group than GMA, close to its best lead in that key segment in seven years.

Curry is the most familiar face available to NBC. She has regularly anchored three of NBC’s four major news broadcasts. In addition to her longtime role as Today’s news anchor, she has anchored Dateline NBC since 2005 and served as the main substitute on NBC Nightly News since 2007 after Lester Holt took over the weekend editions. On some days Curry can be seen anchoring all three broadcasts.

Curry has built her image as a serious international journalist, having followed major stories in places like Baghdad, Congo, Rwanda, Albania, Darfur and Sri Lanka. She has conducted interviews with political figures like Al Gore and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In November of 2000, during the invasion of Afghanistan, she conducted an exclusive interview with General Tommy Franks aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. In early 2003 she reported from Baghdad, then from the USS Constellation as the war in Iraq began. In late 2004 Curry was the first network news anchor to report from inside the Southeast Asian tsunami zone.

Ann Curry was born November 19, 1956 in Guam to a Japanese mother and an American father of French, Irish and Dutch descent. Her father is a career Navy man who met her mother while stationed in Japan following World War II. The U.S. military didn’t allow the marriage during her father’s initial tour of duty there. He returned to Japan two years later to marry her mother.

Curry lived in Japan for several years, attending school on the U.S. naval base in Sasebo, before moving to Ashland, Oregon. She graduated from Ashland High School then attended the University of Oregon. She graduated with a BA in Journalism in 1978.

Curry began her broadcasting career in 1978 as an intern at KTVL in Medford, Oregon, eventually becoming the station’s first female news reporter. In 1980 she moved to Portland where she was a reporter and anchor at the local NBC affiliate. Four years later Curry moved to KCBS-TV in Los Angeles where she received two Emmies for her work as a news reporter from 1984 to 1990.

In 1990 Curry joined NBC News as its Chicago news correspondent. She became anchor of NBC News at Sunrise from 1991 to 1996. She was also substitute anchor and news anchor for Today and Weekend Today. In May 2005 Curry became co-anchor with Stone Phillips of Dateline NBC. She became the primary anchor when Phillips left in June 2007. She is now the Today Show’s second-longest serving news anchor, behind Frank Blair.

Curry met her husband Brian Ross, a software executive, while attending the University of Oregon. They live with a daughter and a son in New York’s Gramercy Park neighborhood.