Ashleigh Banfield is still reeling from Katie Couric’s explosive new memoir.
The NewsNation host re-examines her time on NBC and wonders if her former idol was behind her ouster – which she says happened without explanation.
“I’ll say this, I feel like it is,” Banfield, 53, told TMZ of Couric’s meddling. “I was never sure. Let’s not forget that I really didn’t feel like I was a big deal.
In former “Today” host’s tome, “Going There,” which ruffled feathers across the media landscape, Couric took aim at everyone from Deborah Norville to Martha Stewart and the rival of ” Good Morning America ”Diane Sawyer. (The book will be published by Little, Brown and Company on October 26.)
Turning his pen to Banfield, Couric admitted giving him the cold shoulder as the mentor would have been “self-sabotaging” and there was always someone younger and cuter to come.
Known for her frosty hair and dark glasses, Banfield joined MSNBC in 2000 and quickly became a rising star of the network. She said she shouldn’t have been a threat to Couric, who was the Golden Girl.
“She was everything. She was making so much money and she was so important, ”Banfield told TMZ. “And she was so good at her job, and I admired her, so I didn’t think there was a possibility that something had happened behind the scenes to derail me there.” . . I have heard a lot of rumors. I really wondered if that was it. It’s really hard to deal with, I’m not going to lie.
Banfield noted that she was at the top of her game when she was on the Peacock Network when she apparently fell out of favor with the greats.
“I had just returned from Afghanistan. I had a million viewers a night at 9 p.m. I had been on Leno and Letterman and Carson Daly and ‘The Daily Show.’ ”
She had been the subject of glowing profiles in magazines such as Vogue, and the New York Post featured her as Couric’s successor.
“Then, without warning or explanation, it was all over. Everything has disappeared. They canceled me, ”she told TMZ. “They took my desk, my phone, my desk. I wandered aimlessly, literally looking for a desk to sit on for about 10 months.
Banfield said they finally emptied a tape closet so she could work until the end of her contract, and she left in 2004.
“So I explained over the past 20 years why my career has derailed so quickly without any explanation from NBC,” she said, calling her ouster an “emotional punch” that she still is. not finished.
“It broke my heart. It broke my heart. It broke my soul, ”she told TMZ, adding that the ’90s were a tough time for women.
“We always felt like we were about to be thrown in the trash and put aside. Ageism for women was so palpable, ”she said, adding that the fierce atmosphere made her feel like she needed Botox from her thirties.
The demise of his career at NBC has long fueled discussions about water coolers in the media world. And in 2007, Banfield attributed her drop in inventory to a controversial speech she gave at Kansas State University on covering the Iraq War.
“I sent a warning to all my colleagues covering this conflict and urged the press not to wave the banner and cover the war chauvinistically,” she told Adweek. “It didn’t please my NBC employers – who are no longer there. I think they have exaggerated. I was banned. I stayed in the outfield for a long time.
This is the second time Banfield has spoken about the book, in which Couric, 64, writes: “I had heard that her father told anyone who wanted to hear him that she was going to replace me.
In a monologue earlier this week, Banfield said at the time that his father was senile and lived in an institution.
“I want to correct the record here because you attacked my father,” she said.