Brian Stelter: ‘Today’ show will be back on top

BOK_TopofMORNING3D4C_Flt_0430

During our interview about his new book, “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,” Brian Stelter consistently refers to the ouster of Ann Curry on the “Today” show as “The Ann Curry Disaster.”

And a disaster it was. After an awkward first year, Curry was unceremoniously replaced as co-host of “Today” in 2012. It was far from smooth transfer: On her last day on set, Curry actually cried when she announced she was leaving the show; she then visibly flinched when Matt Lauer tried to comfort her. The entire watching world cringed simultaneously — and her loyal audience left in droves, thus knocking “Today” off its throne as the No. 1 morning program by “Good Morning America,” a title “Today” held for 15 years.

And while this was terrible for Curry, it was a delicious twist for Stelter, a media reporter for The New York Times, who was already working on a book about the morning TV wars. “The Ann Curry Disaster happened in June 2012,” he says. “At that point I had already been deep inside the show for about six months.”

Stelter then wrote as fast as he could to make sure the topic was still fresh. NBC, who has been attempting damage control ever since Curry left, has been clobbered again by “Top of the Morning,” which paints Matt Lauer, Jim Bell (his former boss), and ex-NBC News president Steve Capus as office bullies who dubbed the systematic removal of Curry as “Operation Bambi.” “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Matt Lauer came out in March and gave interviews and talked about the Ann Curry Disaster for the first time. I think it makes a lot of sense that he was trying to give a pre-rebuttal to my book. A ‘prebuttal,’ if you will,” says Stelter.

But don’t cry for “Today.” In a way, Stelter thinks the upheaval at our morning television mainstays are a good thing. “I think it’s inevitable that the ‘Today’ show will get back to first place. It’s just a question of when,” he says. “‘Good Morning America’ was losing for 15 years; now it’s winning, so they’re not going to let that go without a fight. And what we see on air every day now is that fight — which is very interesting to watch.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures, September 19,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on September 19, 20 and 21. There will be many streets and…

Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Television

'Outlander' Season 1, Episode 7: 'The Wedding'

Claire and Jamie are man and wife!!! Like, ALL THE WAY, if you know what we mean. (Twice.)

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…