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Ann Curry may walk away from the Today show $10 million dollars richer.
The news anchor, who was promoted to cohost last summer, is reportedly being replaced by NBC in the hopes of boosting ratings. But it sounds like the network is being generous with her severance package, since reports say that Curry will receive $10 million (or half the balance of her three-year, $30-million contract) for her early exit. There's also a possibility that she'll take another job at NBC News, possibly as a foreign correspondent -- while current Today reporters Hoda Kotbe and Savannah Guthrie sit atop the list of Currys' rumored successors.
It hasn't been an easy year for Curry, 55, who took over for the wildly popular Meredith Vieira. Those weren't easy high heels to fill, and Curry has had her share of embarrassing moments, including an awkward interview where she grabbed Brad Pitt's face. But she's had some great moments, too, including a rare interview with controversial Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Among those she's impressed is Sgt. Stephen Crowley, an Iraq veteran who has started an online petition to keep Curry on Today.
"Ann Curry's sensitivity to the human experience telegraphs through her journalism, to me and many other fans and viewers," Crowley writes in his petition, which is approaching 19,000 signatures. "Her compassion and dedication to her audience radiates every time she stands in front of a camera. She connects with people. She has definitely connected with me."
Unfortunately for Curry's fans, her ouster seems to be all about ratings, which have recently slipped while those for ABC nemesis Good Morning America have climbed. The ratings battle is something that Curry discusses in her new cover story for Ladies' Home Journal.
"It's hard not to take it personally. You worry, Am I not good enough? Am I not what people need? Am I asking the right questions?" she says. "When people say negative things or speculate, you can't help but feel hurt."
In the revealing (if badly-timed) article, Curry also talks about her future with the show.
"I've been at Today for 15 years and I'd love to make it to 20," she declares. "I think eventually I want to become a teacher, like my father wanted to be, and hopefully positively influence the next generation."
Maybe she should use that $10 million to open a school?