Weeping Curry signs off, PETA pounds the Olsens, Vanessa Lachey worries over belly button

A weeping, apologetic Ann Curry, 55, on Thursday told Today viewers she is leaving her post as cohost of the NBC morning program. "For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line, but man, I did try," she said. "I will keep trying and I'm so sorry I turned into a sob sister this morning."

Curry replaced the much-loved Meredith Vieira — who quit to care for her ailing husband — only a year ago, but she has been with Today as a correspondent since 1997.

On Wednesday, she told USA Today it would be especially tough to say goodbye to her viewers. "I don't want to leave them," she said. "I love them. And I will really miss them."

Curry isn't going far. NBC has created a new job for her as Today show anchor-at-large and NBC national/international correspondent. Reports put her new salary between $10 mil and $20 mil, a range she told USA Today is outrageously exaggerated. She did try hard to put two other rumors to rest.

"I know I am not to blame for the ratings worries," she said, referring to Today's slide: The program hadn't lost a week in the ratings since 1996, but this spring lost four times.

And she bristles at the suggestion she and cohost Matt Lauer didn't get along. "You know, Matt and I have had great on-air chemistry for 14 years," Curry said.

NBC has yet to name a replacement, but Savannah Guthrie is the odds-on favorite.

 

Mary-Kate & Ashley: ‘Trollsen' twins

Would you use a backpack — to carry your cherry lip gloss and your dog-eared copy of The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology — made of fur?

The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals says you'd be a troll to do so. The org has savaged The Trollsen Twins, its loving moniker for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, for featuring a $17,000(!) backpack made of strips of fur in their fashion collection, The Row. "What the Olsens lack in creativity, they try to make up for in shock value," PETA says, noting that "the foxes, calves, and alligators" used for the product "often have the fur ripped off them while they are still conscious and able to feel pain." The Trollsens have yet to comment.

 

MusiCares: The Boss is the boss!

Recording Academy charity MusiCares has named Bruce Springsteen its 2013 Person of the Year. The Boss, Academy prez Neil Portman says, is "a national treasure, and an exemplary humanitarian." Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Bono, and other stars will honor the Boss' philanthropic awesomeness at a gala Feb. 8, 2013, two days before the Grammy Awards.

 

When belly buttons attack!

Vanessa Lachey, 31, loves her baby bump, but she's worried about her belly button. See, the usually inconspicuous thingamajig pops out by the third trimester of pregnancy.

"Everyone's belly button is different. Some women's belly buttons pop and some women's [don't]," VL tells Bethenny Frankel's TV show in a chat set to air Friday. "I thought, ‘Oh, I wouldn't mind if it popped because then it would be like the turkey's done, right?'," she says. "But my stylist was like, ‘You don't want that to pop. That's like having a third nipple.'?" Are you not the richer for gaining this info?

 

Celine Dion won't pay overtime?

Celine Dion and hub Rene Angelil are being sued in federal court by a former handyman, says TMZ. Keith Sturtevant says he slaved away maintaining the couple's gargantuan compound in Hobe Sound, Fla., but never was paid for the trillions of hours of overtime he put in. No comment yet from Dion.

 

Anna Paquin: Sex scenes rule!

"We feel completely comfortable together," says Anna Paquin of her True Blood sex scenes with costar Alexander Skarsgard. Um, wait, isn't she married to her other costar, Stephen Moyer? "Steve and Alex are buddies," Paquin, 29, tells Redbook. "It's nothing like, ‘Oh, hi, nice to meet you. Now take off your clothes and go into the fog.' Everyone is respectful of each other's boundaries." Whatever you say.

 

Bono's bedtime reading

U2 rocker and world savior Bono, 52, hasn't read a novel in a long time. So what does he read? "An American historian named David McCullough," he tells People of the author of John Adams, 1776, and Truman. "He's the most beautiful writer." Nonfiction's also the thing for Body of Proof's Dana Delany, 56, who tells the mag she's reading "HHhH by Laurent Binet, about the Nazi era. It's fantastic. Bret Easton Ellis recommended it on Twitter."

 

Tidbits 'n' pieces

Michael Jackson's tiger, Thriller, who had been living at The Birds star Tippi Hedren's wildlife preserve, has died at 13 of lung cancer. ... "I've never known of Wal-Mart to be a good neighbor in any town it's ever moved into," says rocker Steve Earle of the chain, which is the biggest private employer on the globe. Union leaders and celebs are organizing what is being billed as the largest anti-Wal-Mart protest in America Friday and Saturday at a new store in Los Angeles' Chinatown. Protesters decry the company's low wages and antiunion stance. ... "It's very exposing — if you will," Channing Tatum, 32, says of his job as a male stripper at age 18. "My common sense hadn't developed. Now I realize how ridiculous it was."

 

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services. Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.