According to New York Times reporter Brian Stelter's upcoming book, former 'Today' executive producer Jim Bell called the plan to fire Curry 'Operation Bambi.'
It was reportedly an unpleasing moment for Ann Curry days leading to her "Today" exit. In his upcoming book "Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV", New York Times reporter Brian Stelter describes Curry's final days on the show before her dismissal last summer.
According to Stelter, the show staffers often made fun of Curry, mocking her outfit choices. One staff person says employees mocked Curry's yellow dress she wore during one episode in spring 2012, photoshopping a picture of Big Bird next to Curry and asking the team, "Who wore it best?" At another time, "several boxes of Curry's belongings ended up in a coat closet, as if she had already been booted off the premises."
Jim Bell, who was "Today" executive producer at the time, reportedly also took part in teasing Curry. He allegedly "commissioned a blooper reel of Curry's worst on-air mistakes." Another source says Bell called the mission to boot off Curry "Operation Bambi", after one colleague likened firing Curry to "killing Bambi." According to Stelter, Bell denied all of those reports.
Bell is said never wanting Curry to replace Meredith Vieira as a co-host, but worried that if Curry left, she might end up on another network as a direct competitor. Matt Lauer wasn't fond of Curry either, allegedly telling a production assistant about Curry, "I can't believe I am sitting next to this woman."
Stelter goes on describing Curry's alleged condition after her on-air exit in June 2012. "She still often woke before dawn as if she were about to go on the air," he writes in an excerpt of his book. "Some mornings, she cried as she read e-mail and Twitter messages from fans." He also reveals, "She told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture," adding that Curry's "profoundly hurt and humiliated" by her dismissal and the way the "Today" team treated her.