No such “resume tape” is needed. Mr. Lauer isn’t going anywhere. This spring he agreed to a long-term contract to stay put at “Today.” Why not? In terms of star value, salary and clout, following Tom Brokaw’s long-ago path from “Today” to “Nightly News” would be a step down for Mr. Lauer in 2012, even if he was of mind to engineer it.
Make no mistake: “Today” is a huge, profitable, powerful enterprise, which may have helped Ms. Curry think that what she does there automatically has value. And now she understandably may wonder how she failed.
Hasn’t she done everything asked of her? So far this week, she has interviewed both leads of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” handled a cooking segment, debriefed a show-biz journalist for a segment called “What’s Up: Celebrity,” and pitched in on her program’s day-after-day coverage of bullied bus monitor Karen Klein — on Tuesday, Ms. Curry welcomed the Greece, N.Y., grandmother to Studio 1A.
Besides, how do you measure Ms. Curry’s day-to-day performance when morning ratings are skewed by an ever-escalating arms race of stunting between “Today” and “GMA,” where, in the first two hours when they go head-to-head, no gimmick is spared and no retaliatory strike is too outrageous (witness Sarah Palin snagged as a “Today” guest host in May to blunt the anticipated audience spike when Katie Couric guest-hosted on “GMA”).
Already, a guessing game is under way about who will replace her. Savannah Guthrie, who co-hosts the four-hour extravaganza’s third hour, is poised at the top of the list of Ms. Curry’s possible replacements.
But beware: A quarter-century ago, Deborah Norville was vaulted to the anchor desk beside Bryant Gumbel, which left viewers thinking she had pushed out the beloved Jane Pauley. This led to a backlash from her sympathetic fans, with “GMA” the ratings beneficiary. Little more than a year later, Ms. Norville was gone.
As for Ms. Curry, whose sometimes serious reporting is easily lost in her show’s overwhelming foolishness, a departure from “Today” might actually be fitting. If she’s really a serious journalist — or believes she is, at least — she’s in the wrong place.
By Elaine Donnelly
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