Ann Curry Announces She's Leaving Today

06/28/2012 at 09:05 AM EDT

Ann Curry Is Leaving 'Today'
Ann Curry
Peter Kramer/NBC
Ann Curry will no longer co-host the Today show – effective immediately.

"This is not easy to say," a choked-up Curry, 55, announced on Thursday's show, as her costars sat on the sofa next to her. She said Thursday would be her last day as a regular on the show, but "I will still be part of the Today show family, in a different role."

She said she has been "given a fancy new title" and will roam the globe for NBC, reporting the news.

With tears in her eyes, she expressed her gratitude and love for the viewers and the behind-the-scenes staff, and said, "To those of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I am sorry that could not carry the ball across the finish line – but, man, I did try."

During a phone interview Wednesday, an emotional Curry told USA Today that in anticipation of her announcement, Thursday was "going to be a bit of a tough day. … I'm going to have to tell our viewers. That's what makes me more emotional than anything. I don't want to leave them. I love them. And I will really miss them."

Curry's announcement comes after several days of news stories tracking the behind-the-scenes machinations of her departure. These have included unconfirmed reports that she will be succeeded by Savannah Guthrie, who currently is the show's legal analyst and 9 a.m. anchor.

Curry assumed the co-anchor seat next to Matt Lauer, 54, slightly more than a year ago, when Meredith Vieira tended her resignation, for personal reasons. Since Vieira's departure, Today ratings have slipped, and recently have been either neck-and-neck or even trailing those of ABC rival Good Morning America.

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