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Although rumors had persisted for weeks regarding now-former Today Show host Ann Curry’s likely exit, it was still a shock to see an emotional Curry announce her departure in a rather rushed manner on Thursday morning with co-workers Matt Lauer, Natalie Morales and Al Roker looking on.

Simply put, the Today Show needs to point the finger at someone for their declining ratings. On several occasions this year, Good Morning America has beaten ‘Today’ in the ratings war- something that previously hadn’t happened since Prism was still in existence. They needed a fall guy (or girl) and Curry was it.

While Roker and Morales’ sentiments they shared with Curry during her farewell seemed heartfelt and sincere, Lauer’s comments seemed wooden, almost as if he was interviewing her. Furthermore, Curry didn’t seem like she was buying any of it, thanking him in a tone that, if read into subliminally, could easily have been interpreted as a big “Go F@#k yourself, Matt.”  Also, when Lauer went to kiss her on the cheek, Curry moved away, reacting as if she was just unwillingly kissed by her brother. Body language says a lot. Just check out the video:

Matt Lauer has a lot of pull at the Today Show. I’m no genius, but if Lauer REALLY wanted Curry to remain with him in the morning, wouldn’t you think she would still be there? It sure seems that way. And while the Today Show tries to retool their program, the circumstances concerning Curry’s exit scored her major points with most of her co-workers (most likely not Lauer) as well as the general public.

On the other hand, NBC should be absolutely ashamed. The way this was handled was a disaster. Was Curry’s transition to head co-host flawless? Absolutely not. In saying that, the powers that be let this drag out and drag out, and although Curry apparently got a very nice salary (an estimated $10 million severance pay), the fact that she was given just five minutes on screen to say goodbye after 15 years on the show was a disgrace.

All is not lost for Curry, who has given a platform to be featured on almost every NBC program by the network. Unfortunately, that platform will no longer include the Today Show, whose ratings dip may continue to seesaw in the wake of this debacle.

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