The real reason you don't hear from Ann Curry anymore

Since her shocking exit from Today in 2012, former co-anchor Ann Curry has been keeping a relatively low profile. As of this writing, she is promoting her return to long-form journalism with a six-part series for PBS, scheduled to air in 2018, but what has she been doing in the meantime, and why hasn't she been sharing it with the general public? 

Here's what we know about Curry's time away from the spotlight.

Her exit from the Today show led to bitterness

By now, most folks have heard that Curry left Today under dubious circumstances. According to Brian Stelter's exposé, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV (via New York magazine,) Curry was allegedly run out by executive producer Jim Bell via "Operation Bambi," his three-part plan to: "1.) persuade [Matt] Lauer to extend his expiring contract; 2.) oust Curry; 3.) replace her with Savannah Guthrie." Stelter also claims Bell fostered a "boy's club" atmosphere behind-the-scenes of Today, which served to widen the existing personal and professional gulf between Curry and Lauer.

The plan apparently worked, and Curry tearfully bid the show farewell. "They're giving me some fancy new titles," she said at the time. "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." 

Many believed her emotions during the announcement betrayed her true feelings, which Stelter described in The New York Times as "sad" and "enraged." With that kind of bad taste in her mouth after decades of good work in broadcast journalism, it's no wonder Curry decided to step back and reevaluate her pursuits.

She wanted to slow down even before leaving Today

In an interview from the November 2011 issue of O—just five months into her Today co-anchor gig–Curry revealed that a cancer scare had her contemplating a serious career slowdown. "People close to me called me 'Curry in a Hurry.' I was moving through life at 100 miles an hour trying to further my career and be a great mom and make everyone happy," she said, describing her life before she found the lump in her breast.

The bump was benign, but despite the fortunate diagnosis, Curry's doctor advised her to reevaluate her hectic lifestyle. She started devoting more time to photography, her lifelong hobby and passion. She also started exercising and eating healthier. "In the time since I had that chat with my doctor, I've learned to be deliberate about how I spend my time on this Earth. I choose to fill my days with what I'm passionate about, and live with purpose," she said.

Call us crazy, but the behind-the-scenes drama of the Today show doesn't seem to jive with that life path at all. Could it be that Curry had her eye on something more even before she was allegedly ousted?

She blew off Matt Lauer's 20th Today anniversary

Given what is now known about Lauer's allegedly lewd backstage behavior, the idea that Curry would distance herself from him doesn't seem all that strange. 

But in January 2017, Lauer was still big man on campus and celebrating 20 years as co-anchor. There were multiple celebrations in his honor, according to the Daily Mail, including on-air festivities and a fancy dinner at New York's swanky Hunt & Fish Club. Almost all of Lauer's female co-anchors celebrated with him. Savannah Guthrie took a break from her maternity leave to pop in on the show and attend the dinner. Meredith Vieira  also showed up to the dinner, and Katie Couric appeared on the show for the big anniversary. Noticeably absent from everything? Curry.  

It's not surprising that Curry isn't jonesing to get back in a room with Lauer, considering their icy work history, and there could be a very good reason for why she wasn't available. That said, such a reason was never made public, leaving the undeniable perception that on its face, Curry snubbing Lauer's 20th Today anniversary seems like a pretty sick burn.

She's been working on a new series for PBS

As previously mentioned, Curry will soon be back on the air with a new six-part series for PBS called We'll Meet Again. According to the public broadcaster's press release, the show will focus on "some of history's most dramatic events from across the globe through the personal stories of those who experienced them, the series brings together people whose lives intersected at pivotal moments."

Speaking to the Television Critics Association (via USA Today,) Curry said she was looking for "a wonderful way to do meaningful journalism" and this project allowed her to "be independent, because then you can really focus on what you want to do… I'm trying to do stories that I think are needed now, and that's actually been lovely."

The series is set to air in the winter of 2018.

She dunked on broadcast journalism

Though she's wading back into the waters of documentary-style TV, Curry seems to be done with standard news reporting, at least in the way it's currently being executed. 

Speaking with the Television Critics Association (via AdWeek,) Curry said, "I rarely watch television broadcasts, unless there's something that's really breaking, and I tend to scan all of them. There has been some stunningly exemplary cases of journalism across the board, and there's also been the opposite."  

Curry continued slamming her former profession by saying, "It's easy to talk about what you think about something, but that's actually not what your job is. Your job is to not tell people what to think, your job is to tell people what they need to know so they can make their own decisions." 

In an interview with the Herald-Tribune, Curry said, "I think we have reached a very sad moment in journalism, when it is clear that the work is vulnerable to economic pressures, corporate interests, biased reporting. I think that where we are today is an opportunity…to become better." 

Watch out, fake news—Ann Curry is back!

She's become an advocate for hospice care

Curry lost both of her parents to cancer two years apart in the mid 2000s, and she has since taken time out of her schedule to speak publicly about her experience as her parents' caretaker in the final years of their lives.

Speaking at a February 2017 fundraiser for Tidewell Hospice in Sarasota, Fla., Curry compared her experience caring for her ailing parents to her long journalism career. "As a journalist, you can see a great deal, unfortunately, of human suffering and you wish that the world would move away from it," she said. "And as a caregiver, as somebody who has tried to help your parents suffer less from cancer, you also want to end their suffering. But there's a limit to what you can do. So what you have to do is love them more."

In 2012, Curry was instrumental in getting the Today show recognized by the National Hospice Foundation, so she's clearly made this cause a priority in her life.

She's not very active on social media

Curry is not a huge self-promoter through her social media channels. Though her Instagram page offers some beautiful examples of her photography passion, her Facebook and Twitter feeds are basically a mirror of one another, with updates on each coming in at about a rate of one or two per month. In fact, most of her posts involve sharing the work of other journalists, such as John Morris and Dan Barry

That said, with more than 1.6 million Twitter followers and some 618,000 on Facebook, should Curry choose to start directing her fans towards her own work, she could easily find herself back on the fast track to mainstream relevancy.

She planned to launch her own media startup

After leaving the Today show, Curry spent three years going relatively unnoticed in her new role as NBC News national and international correspondent and anchor-at-large before walking away from the company at which she'd built her entire career. 

According to Page Six, Curry announced in 2015 that although she would no longer work for NBC News, she would still retain a tie to the company through the creation of "her own media startup backed by NBCUniversal." Scant details about the media startup exist as of this writing. In fact, Curry makes no mention of any kind of production company or media entity on her official website, Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram

Though outlets such as Variety have reported that her PBS series, We'll Meet Again, is being produced "in partnership with Curry's production company," the press release from PBS only makes mention that Curry will serve as executive producer on the show. 

People are already calling for her to return to Today

In the wake of Lauer's stunning downfall, one of the predictable byproducts has been the speculation that Curry must be absolutely reveling in his demise. Twitter users, in particular, had all kinds of jokes. One wrote: "Somewhere, Ann Curry just made her orange juice a mimosa" on the morning of Lauer's termination.  

Columnist Eileen McNamara even wrote a piece suggesting that NBC give Curry Lauer's job in order to "demonstrate that you understand sexual harassment is only one manifestation of the misogyny endemic to the news business."

Curry has taken the high road when commenting on the scandal. She told to People she's still "processing" the specific allegations made about Lauer. "I admire the women who have been willing to speak up both anonymously and on the record," she said. "Those women need to keep their jobs, and all women need to be able to work, to be able to thrive, without fear. This kind of behavior exists across industries, and it is so long overdue for it to stop."

She's on a deeper mission these days

During her keynote address at the 2017 Festival of Faiths, Curry laid out what seemed to be the overarching philosophy of her entire life. 

Recounting decades of covering tragic conflicts all over the world, Curry spoke about how her work in journalism has inspired her to investigate the science behind the seemingly evil acts of humans. This study of the psychology and motivations behind horrors such as genocide, the recruitment of child soldiers, and the crisis of refugees displaced by war has, in turn, led Curry to believe that the pursuit of compassion is the key to combating the darkness. It's heavy stuff, for sure, but not an entirely surprising position for a veteran international journalist to take, considering the alternative is abject depression about the state of the world.

The point is: Curry seems to be on a mission to evoke compassion in her life and through her work, and if there's one thing TV ratings don't necessarily care about, it's compassion. Saddled with the age old motto, "If it bleeds it leads," TV news can be ice cold, so it's not a shock that Curry has distanced herself.

In the closing statement of her address at the festival, Curry said, "I hope your compassion, in all of your days to come, let's you breath deeper, be happier, live longer. I hope we all live long enough to see the next step up in humanity's rise, but even if I don't, I know it's going to happen. I hope, I hope, don't you?" 

That does not sound like the sentiment of a person looking to jump back into the frenzied, often vulgar world of the 24/7 news cycle.