Ashleigh Banfield is still recovering from Katie Couric’s New Explosive Memoirs.
The news has the NewsNation host reexamining her time at NBC and wondering if her idol of yesteryear was behind her ouster, which she said happened without explanation.
“I’ll say this, I have a feeling so” Banfield, 53, told TMZ of Couric’s meddling. “I was never sure. Let’s not forget, I really didn’t feel like it was a big deal. “
In ancient “Today” shows the presenter’s tome, “Going There,” which has upset the entire media landscape., Couric targeted everyone from Deborah Norville to Martha Stewart and “Good Morning America” rival Diane Sawyer. (The book will be published by Little, Brown and Company on October 26).
Directing his pen at Banfield, Couric admitted to turning his back on him because being his mentor would have been “self-sabotaging” and there was always someone younger and cuter who came along.
Known for her frosted hair and sunglasses, Banfield joined MSNBC in 2000 and quickly became a rising star on the network. He said it shouldn’t have been a threat to Couric, who was the golden girl.
“She was everything. He was making a lot of money and it was very important, ”Banfield told TMZ. “And she was so good at her job, and I looked up to her, so I didn’t think it was possible that something could have been going on behind the scenes to derail me there. . . I heard a lot of rumors. I was really wondering if this was it. It is very difficult to process this, I am not going to lie. “
Banfield noted that he was on top of his game while on the Peacock network when he apparently lost favor with the bosses.
“He had just returned from Afghanistan. It had a million viewers a night at 9 o’clock. He had been on Leno and Letterman and Carson Daly and ‘The Daily Show’. ”
She had been the subject of glossy profiles in magazines like Vogue, and the New York Post touted her as Couric’s successor.
“Then, without warning or explanation, it was all over. Everything disappeared. They canceled me, ”he told TMZ. “They took my office, my phone, my desk. I wandered aimlessly, literally looking for a desk to sit on for about 10 months. “
Banfield said they eventually cleaned out a tape closet for her to work with until her contract ran out, and she left in 2004.
“So for the last 20 years I have been explaining why my career was derailed so quickly without any explanation from NBC,” he said, calling his expulsion “an emotional punch” that is not over yet.
“He broke my heart. He broke my heart. It broke my soul, ”she told TMZ, adding that the ’90s were a difficult time for women.
“We always feel like we are on the verge of being ripped apart and rejected. The age discrimination for women was so palpable, ”she said, adding that the ruthless atmosphere made her feel like she needed Botox since she was 30.
The demise of his NBC career has long fueled conversations about the water cooler in the media world. And in 2007, Banfield attributed his decline in shares to a controversial speech he gave at Kansas State University about coverage of the Iraq War.
“I sent a warning note to all my colleagues covering this conflict and rebuked the press corps for not waving the banner and covering the war in a patriotic way,” he said. told Adweek. “It didn’t sit well with my employers at NBC, who are no longer there. I think they overreacted. I was banished. I sat in the gardens for a long time. “
This is the second time Banfield has spoken about the book, in which Couric, 64, wrote: “I heard her father was telling anyone who would listen that she would replace me.”
In a monologue earlier this week, Banfield said that at the time, his father was senile and living in a facility.
“I want to correct the record here because you went after my dad,” he said.