- - Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ann Curry offered a tearful goodbye as co-host of NBC’s “Today” show Thursday, saying “this is not as I expected to ever leave this couch.”

Her exit represents NBC’s most visible response to the popular morning show’s worst stretch in the ratings in nearly two decades. “Today” hadn’t lost a single week since 1996, but this spring it was beaten four times by ABC’s resurgent “Good Morning America.”

Ms. Curry’s exit marked a stark contrast to the lengthy tribute shows given to predecessors Meredith Vieira and Katie Couric. She announced it during the final five minutes of her shift Thursday, ending a week of awkward television as she continued working after word spread that NBC was looking to oust her.

“For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line but, man, I did try,” she said, breaking down.

Ms. Curry joined the show as a news anchor in 1997. Passed over for the co-host job when Ms. Vieira replaced Ms. Couric, she was given the chance when Ms. Vieira left last June. But her pairing with co-host Matt Lauer never seemed to click and she took the fall for the show’s ratings troubles.

NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, who co-hosts the 9 a.m. segment of the show, is expected to replace Ms. Curry.

Ms. Curry will remain at NBC News, saying she’s been given a “fancy new title” to lead a reporting team. NBC said she will be anchor-at-large and national and international correspondent. Her work occasionally will resurface on “Today,” and Mr. Lauer said she will be in London with the show for the Olympics.

Blown transformer leaves Ferguson show in the dark

Craig Ferguson kept it light when the lights went out.

CBS said Wednesday’s edition of “The Late Late Show” was faced with lighting problems after a transformer blew, shorting out the light grid above the stage for the taping just hours before airtime.

Two temporary lights were positioned to illuminate Mr. Ferguson and his guests, former “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow and producer Harvey Weinstein, who also joked around with flashlights.

Mr. Ferguson, whose show is taped at CBS’ Television City in Hollywood, has weathered technical glitches before. In October 2009, he had a power failure and taped part of the show entirely by flashlight. He’s also been plagued periodically by a leaky roof.

But the future burns bright for “The Late Late Show”: It’s scheduled to move to a better-equipped studio by summer’s end.

People sometimes ask Mr. Ferguson why he’s making the move, he noted during his monologue.

“And I say, ‘Oh, no reason,’ ” he cracked as he gestured toward his darkened stage.

‘My Three Sons’ star Grady succumbs to cancer

Don Grady, who was one of television’s most beloved big brothers as Robbie Douglas on the long-running 1960s hit “My Three Sons,” has died. He was 68.

His “My Three Sons” co-star Barry Livingston said Mr. Grady died Wednesday. He had been suffering from cancer and receiving hospice care at his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Born in San Diego as Don Louis Agrati, Mr. Grady had a brief stint singing and dancing on “The Mickey Mouse Club” starting at age 13.

But he was best known by far as one of Fred MacMurray’s “My Three Sons” on the series that ran on ABC and later CBS from 1960 to 1972.

Southwest Airlines to debut live TV service

Southwest Airlines plans to sell live television service on five planes and expand it to more aircraft by mid-July.

The airline said Thursday that it would offer seven sports and news channels — NBC Sports, MLB, NFL Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News and Fox Business News — for passengers to watch on their own devices.

Southwest said it will test prices from $3 to $8 during a trial period. Passengers will need a Wi-Fi-enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

Live TV will be offered separately from wireless Internet access and customers won’t have to buy Internet access to watch TV.

Southwest said that if the service is successful, it will be added to all the airline’s Wi-Fi-enabled planes by the end of the year. The airline has about 550 Boeing 737 jets including about 250 with Wi-Fi. It plans to outfit 70 percent of its fleet by the end of 2013.

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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