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“Today”'s Harry Smith Says Goodbye NBC News After 12 Years: 'I Have Nothing but Gratitude'

The broadcast journalist joined the network in 2011 and has hosted the weekend edition of 'Today' since 2015

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty</p> Harry Smith for the

Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty

Harry Smith for the 'Today' show on September 19, 2018

After 12 years working for NBC News outlets, weekend Today host Harry Smith is departing the network.

On Friday, Smith, 72, and Today’s weekday hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin, Al Roker and Sheinelle Jones gathered to celebrate his career.

In beginning the send-off, Smith introduced “A Look Back” montage that highlighted his many news stories during his stint at NBC, from breaking political news to celebrity interviews with stars like Cher, Julia Roberts and Madonna.

Narrated by Smith, the five-minute reel concluded with him summing up his time, saying: “And it all seems like it happened yesterday.”

His visibly emotional co-hosts gave him a standing ovation, and Smith held back tears as he embraced Jones, 45.

Related: NBC News Correspondent Kristen Dahlgren Leaving the Network to Start Breast Cancer Charity

“I have nothing but gratitude,” Smith said. “Every time I would come on this show, I was welcomed so generously. I’ve had just this unbelievable array of phenomenal experiences since coming to NBC, and so I’m really full of nothing but gratitude.”

Smith continued, “Every time I’d come on, everyone would drop their phones, pay attention to the story and then respond.”

“We only do that for you, Harry,” Guthrie, 52, interjected.

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty</p> Harry Smith for 'Today' on June 5, 2023

Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty

Harry Smith for 'Today' on June 5, 2023

Smith revealed that he plans to return to his alma mater, Central College, in Pella, Iowa, to teach a course “on curiosity” in the fall.

“And I might write a book or two, we’ll see,” he added.

Related: Why Hoda Kotb Missed Fourth Hour of Today Earlier This Week

A teary Guthrie led a champagne toast to the broadcast journalist of over 50 years.

“Harry, you have to write. It’s your mission, it’s your gift,” she said. “We will miss you every single day, and you better keep in touch.”

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty </p> Harry Smith for 'Today' on September 6, 2018

Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty

Harry Smith for 'Today' on September 6, 2018

Smith previously left CBS News in July 2011 after 25 years. That same month, he was announced as a contributor to the primetime newsmagazine program Rock Center with Brian Williams, which ran until 2013.

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After the show’s cancellation, Smith began reporting for other NBC news outlets and occasionally anchored for NBC Nightly News. He also had a weekly story running in the “Sundays with Harry” segment on Today and, in 2015, began serving as a co-host on weekends for the daytime program.

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