NBC spends much of Today show welcoming Ann Curry successor, Savannah Guthrie
It may have brought a bit of deja vu for those of us who remember a year ago, when now-deposed co-anchor Ann Curry was welcomed to take over for a departing Meredith Vieira.
But newly-named co-anchor Savannah Guthrie got her morning in the sun today, as NBC's Today show officially completed The Most Difficult Transition in Recent TV History, officially welcoming Guthrie as the show's new co-anchor.
"It's a little like attending your own funeral," Guthrie cracked, about an hour in to Monday's show, which featured lots of tributes to the anchor, including a moment where star anchor Matt Lauer read from the back of her favorite book as a kid, a young adult novel called Dreams Can Come True.
"This is a little unexpected as we all know," she said, reflecting a mix of embarrassment and humility. "I am so proud and honored to be in place occupied by some many women I admire. Ann, Meredith, Katie Jane, Deborah and Barbara. Hope I didn't miss anybody."
It was a scene which also felt like something of a relief for both the on-air crew and viewers. After weeks of rumors, tough stories and fever-pitch speculation, Curry delivered her tear-filled goodbye to Today viewers more than 10 days ago, making plain her departure wasn't voluntary and was sparked by the show's recent ratings troubles.
Today's program was all about boosting Guthrie, who may face backlash from the program's viewers who liked Curry or at least didn't appreciate how publicly she was forced off the show.
But at a time when even Curry's emotional departure didn't bring ratings big enough to beat Good Morning America, the ascension of familiar, longtime Today contributor and third-hour co-anchor Guthrie raises a more important question.