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NBC Announces Jim Bell’s Return to Sports

NBC has officially announced that Jim Bell is leaving as EP of the “Today” show and will return to NBC Sports as executive producer of NBCU’s coverage of the Olympics. Bell, who reports to NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus, will have editorial and creative control over NBC’s Games and rejoins the NBC Olympics Unit, led by Gary Zenkel, President of NBC Olympics.

“The Olympics is one of the signature franchises in television, and for more than two decades they’ve been a huge part of my life,” said Bell. “The London Olympics was especially exciting for me, and I look forward to continuing through future Games working with so many good friends and colleagues.”

The announcement about a new executive in charge of “Today,” likely NBC News SVP Alex Wallace, could come as early as tomorrow.

NBC’s press release after the jump…

NEW YORK – November 13, 2012 – Jim Bell, who served as the executive producer of the 2012 London Olympics, the most-watched event in U.S. television history, has been named the full-time Executive Producer of NBCUniversal’s coverage of the Olympic Games. Bell reports to NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus, who made the announcement today.

Bell will have editorial and creative control over NBC’s Games and rejoins full time the NBC Olympics Unit, led by Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics.

“There is no doubt that Jim is the right person to be our Olympic production leader into the future,” said Lazarus. “His professionalism was unmatched in leading the London Olympics to record levels. Jim has worked with the best in the Olympic television world, and we’re excited to have him join us as the full-time executive producer.”

“The Olympic legacy at NBCUniversal is long and rich, and Jim has had a role with this unit going all the way back to Barcelona in 1992,” said Zenkel. “It will be great to have Jim back full time as part of our incredibly talented and experienced production team.”

Bell rejoins NBC Sports Group full time following seven years leading TODAY, the iconic news program that dominated the morning ratings race for 16 years, earned five Emmys, seven Edward R. Murrow Awards and nine Headliner Awards. He served as both executive producer of TODAY and the London Olympics earlier this year.

Prior to joining TODAY in 2005, Bell spent 16 years with NBC Sports & Olympics. He has worked on every Olympic Games NBC has broadcast since 1992 in either sports (1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2012) or news (2006, 2008 and 2010). Bell won Emmys for his work on the 1992, 1996, 2000 & 2002 Olympics and a Peabody for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.

His NBC Sports & Olympics career began in 1990 when he was hired to work in the profiles unit for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and concluded in 2004 when he served as coordinating producer for NBC Olympics, overseeing all aspects of nearly 100 hours of afternoon and late night Olympic programming during the 2004 Athens Games.

“The Olympics is one of the signature franchises in television, and for more than two decades they’ve been a huge part of my life,” said Bell. “The London Olympics was especially exciting for me, and I look forward to continuing through future Games working with so many good friends and colleagues.”

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