Ann Curry bids tearful farewell to ‘Today’ show

Posted at 8:54 PM, Jun 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-28 20:54:48-04

By Tomika Anderson, Special to CNN

(CNN) - "Today's" Ann Curry announced on Thursday that she's stepping down from her anchor spot but not leaving the network.

Curry told viewers that Thursday marks her last time co-hosting, but she will go on to tell stories for other NBC News shows, including "Today."

She was surrounded by the rest of the hosting staff when she made the announcement, including Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Natalie Morales.

The moment arrived roughly a week after reports surfaced that she was headed for an exit.

"This is not easy to say but today is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host," Curry began tearfully. "I will still be a part of the 'Today' show family but I'm going to have a new title and a new role. And this is not as I expected ... I never expected to leave this couch after 15 years, but I am so grateful, especially to all of you who watch, because Matt and I and everyone who sits on this couch, we often call ourselves a family. But you are the real 'Today' show family."

Curry continued, "You are why I have ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped off of planes and off of bridges and climbed mountains and landed in the South Pole and convinced the Dalai Lama to come live in our studio," she said of the work she's done over the past 15 years.

"For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker," she continued, "I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line but man, I did try. And so to all of you who watched, thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me touch yours."

Curry also gave viewers a peek into her new role for NBC.

"They're giving me some fancy new title, which essentially means that I'm going to get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing ... we're going to go all over the world and all over this country at a time when this country and this world needs clarity," she explained. "We're going to do great work, I hope, and we're being given the chance to do the work that most of us got into journalism to do. And these stories are going to air on all the platforms of NBC News, including here on 'Today.'"

At one point she joked as Lauer looked on, "After all of these years I don't know if I can sleep in anymore!"

"You have the biggest heart in the business," Lauer said. "The way you care about people comes through in every single story you report."

Morales reached out to take the very emotional Curry's hand and praise her for what she's already done for the show and what she will do in the future.

It is not yet known when Curry will begin her new duties.