Tantrum tossing COOPER demands HIS way to CNN or he’ll take the highway!

AN irate Anderson Cooper insists he’ll retire if former “Today” co-host Ann Curry replaces him at CNN, sources say.

While his syndicated daytime talk show was canned in October, the silver-haired newsman still helms the prime-time program “Anderson Cooper 360.”

But incoming CNN news chief Jeff Zucker – former boss of NBC’s “Today” show – is reportedly eyeing Curry for Cooper’s slot.

“Anderson knows his days as a CNN anchor are numbered, and he’s spitting mad,” a source told The ENQUIRER.

“They’ve talked to him about being a reporter-at-large, where he’d cover stories from hot zones and war areas around the world. He’s always loved doing that but considers anything less than heading up CNN’s prime-time news coverage as a demotion. He’s saying he’d quit first.”

Besides that, 45-year-old Cooper doesn’t believe Curry, 56, has the goods to do the job and post better ratings.

“Anderson sees Ann as a lightweight compared to him,” said the source. “He doesn’t think she’s got enough time in the field to make a great newswoman.”

MEANWHILE, CURRY IS REPORTEDLY negotiating to terminate her NBC contract, which forbids her from working for another news outlet for two years if she leaves.

“Ann’s had a diminished role at NBC since she was booted from ‘Today’ in June,” said the source. “So she can certainly sympathize with Anderson’s refusal to take a smaller role at CNN if she comes on board. But she knows from experience that TV news is a cutthroat game