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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Bell’

Libby Leist Named ‘Today’ DC Senior Producer

NBC News senate producer Libby Leist has been promoted to DC senior producer for “Today.”

Leist replaces Meaghan Rady, who was recently named deputy bureau chief in Washington. She has worked at NBC’s DC bureau since 2001, most recently as NBC’s capitol hill senior producer.

“I know we are all very much looking forward to working with her as the TODAY DC Senior Producer,” executive producer Jim Bell wrote in a note to “Today” staffers on Friday.

Read Bell’s full note after the jump.

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Don Nash Named EP of ‘Today’

Following the news that Jim Bell would be leaving NBC’s “Today” for a job at NBC Olympics, the network has promoted senior broadcast producer Don Nash to executive producer of the long-running morning program. Nash will report to Alex Wallace, who will serve as executive in charge of the program.

Nash is a 23-year veteran of “Today,” and started his career as an NBC Page at the network’s Burbank studios in 1989. He moved to New York in 1999 to become a senior producer for “Today,” and has been senior broadcast producer since 2005.

“Don Nash deserves to be at the helm of ‘Today,’” NBC News president Steve Capus said in a statement. “He is a beloved member of the Today family who brings vision, commitment and a deep familiarity to all aspects of the broadcast. The formidable individual talents of Alex, Don and the ‘Today’ leadership are now combined and I’m confident our team is well positioned for success.”

More information below.

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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…

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NBC Affiliates Express ‘Today’ Concerns

Yesterday evening NBC announced a new role for “Today” executive producer Jim Bell at NBC Sports, and reports trickled out about new leadership at the morning show.

As it happens, B&C’s Michael Malone talked to a number of NBC affiliates in the days leading up to the move, and found that there is no consensus as to why the program has been struggling of late, but that the affiliates are optimistic the network will turn it around (subscription required).

“I think NBC News gets painted with the same broad MSNBC brush, fair or not,” [WSAZ Charleston-Huntington W. Va GM Don] Ray says. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 10 weeks before the election, people turned away to watch something else.”

Others deride what they say is a softer mix of content on Today. “My news director would prefer it to be more heavy news than fluffier—he and I have had that conversation,” says Derek Rogers, general manager at WMGT Macon (Ga.), who adds that he has not seen a difference.

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Jim Bell Leaving ‘Today,’ Returning to NBC Sports

Jim Bell, the executive producer of the “Today” show will be leaving his post and returning to his roots at NBC Sports. The New York TimesBrian Stelter reports the change is the beginning of a series of events yet to come that will reconfigure the executive ranks of the NBC program seven months after it lost its spot as the most-watched morning show and after the tumultuous summer exit of co-anchor Ann Curry.

Stelter reports NBC News Group chairman Pat Fili-Krushel is likely to appoint NBC News SVP Alex Wallace as the executive in charge of the four-hour program, while looking for top producers for the first and second two-hour blocks. Wallace, who has worn several hats in her 7 years at NBC News, was just named EP of “Rock Center with Brian Williams.” She is a former “Weekend Today” and “Nightly News” EP and was, until the appointment at “Rock Center,” second-in-command to NBC News president Steve Capus.

Sources tell us no deals have been signed and no internal announcements made. Don Nash, a 24 year “Today” veteran and now senior broadcast producer will likely stay on.

Bell will transition off the show as the year draws to a close. He has been EP of “Today” since 2005, joining from the Sports division. Bell was tapped to oversee NBC’s record-breaking coverage of the London Olympic Games and is expected to do the same for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014 and the Rio Summer games in 2016.

Willie Geist Not Looking Beyond ‘Today’s’ Third Hour, Yet: ‘If I’m being groomed to replace Matt, I haven’t been told’

Willie Geist, today named 9 a.m. co-host of NBC’s “Today,” harbors only one fear about his new gig – he might have to wear a dress.

“I have a feeling I’m going to be a woman on the Halloween show,” he says in his trademark understated style. “I’m afraid it might be some kind of initiation, like paddling. I’ve never been a woman before, at least not professionally.”

Geist, a regular on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” since 2007, doesn’t officially begin until Nov. 12, but don’t be surprised to see him cross-dressed on “Today” on Oct. 31. Co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, a good pal, was Prince Charles on last year’s show.

The peripatetic Geist will remain a co-host on “Morning Joe” during the 6 a.m. hour, but will have to give up his 5:30 a.m. baby, “Way Too Early with Willie Geist,” which he created in 2009. It will live on under a new host.

“I don’t feel great about losing my show, but there was no way to keep doing it,” Geist, 37, says. “I couldn’t give it the time and attention it needs. It’s important to me that it live on. I started it as a lark. It’s amazing how many actual responsible human beings are watching at that hour – movers and shakers of the world.”

Geist will continue as a backup for Matt Lauer, co-anchor of ‘Today’s’ 7 to 9 a.m. hours since 1996. Conventional wisdom says Geist is being groomed to succeed him, but that’s not how Geist sees it.

“If I’m being groomed to replace Matt, I haven’t been told,” says Geist, who signed a new multi-year contract. (His previous deal expired at the end of September.) “There’s not even the implication of

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What’s Behind the Growth at ‘Good Morning America?’

NBC’s “Today” show is experiencing some cold comfort today. The morning program has won the just-finished 2011-2012 season, but is on a path that puts winning next season in peril. ABC’s “Good Morning America” won the third quarter — the first time in 18 years the ABC show has come in first in a three-month period.

In the last year, “GMA” has grown its audience +4% in Total Viewers and +6% in younger viewers, while “Today” lost -6% of its viewership and was down -11% in the coveted A25-54 demo.

“Today” boss Jim Bell tells The New York TimesBill Carter there’s a stark difference between “Today” and “GMA,” that ABC is “doing something else” and that his is a “more serious show.”

Asked if he was suggesting “GMA” was now a tabloid-style program, Mr. Bell said, “That’s what I’m saying.”

To that, ABC News spokeswoman Julie Townsend responds, “I think the audience has spoken loud and clear about its preference in the morning.”

The averages for the 2011-2012 season:

  • Total Viewers: NBC: 5.112M / ABC: 4.870M / CBS: 2.446M
  • A25-54 viewers: NBC: 2.212M / ABC: 1.897M / CBS: 974K

So what do you think? Has “GMA” gone tabloid? And if so does that make you want to tune in or tune out?

‘Today’ EP: Matt Lauer ‘Should not bear any of the blame’ for Ann Curry Transition

THR’s Marissa Guthrie peppered “Today” show EP Jim Bell with questions on a range of issues this morning. As “Today” continues to struggle in the ratings, and staff rumors abound, Guthrie gets Bell on the record about his future and “Today’s.”

When asked whether he regrets the decision to continue a Kris Jenner interview over the national moment of silence on 9/11/12, Bell says “probably,” adding, “I think more importantly than getting into one segment or one show, is to invite a broader comparison of the shows [Today and GMA]. The competition in this case has chosen to do a very different show. If you watch them side-by-side you’ll see. It’s worked for them in the short term. But we’re not going to do anything that’s going to hurt our brand and the legacy of the ‘Today’ show.”

Guthrie: Do you think the way the transition between Ann Curry and Savannah Guthrie was handled may have dinged Matt Lauer’s reputation?

Bell: I think it’s really unfortunate how that played out. And obviously the transition didn’t go quite as we had hoped. And Matt, I need to say for the record, really should not bear any of the blame for that. I’m the executive producer of the show. He’s not. He’s the public face of the show. So he’s taken some of this. But it has been wrong. And that fact should be corrected.

Guthrie: How do you overcome that? Do you think some viewers were turned off by that?

Bell: I suppose. But I think really one of the great things about being on the air ever day is you get to show who you are and you get to put on smart, relevant important programming. And Matt is probably the best guy to ever host morning television.

Guthrie: What’s your supreme ambition at NBCUni? Would you like to have some larger role at the news division or the sports division?

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‘Today’ Show’s New Foe: the Daily News

There are few things newspaper editors like more than to write about troubled TV. Antenna envy, a former news director of mine used to call it. For the past few months the New York Daily News, which, earlier this year, hired former News of the World editor Colin Myler as its chief, has had its sights set on NBC’s “Today” show.

In an un-bylined story in today’s New York Daily News, there’s a report claiming “Today” “is on the verge of losing its general.” That would be show EP Jim Bell, who also produced the London Olympics for NBC. The story goes that Bell will move back, and up, at NBC Sports.

There’s nothing new in this piece that wasn’t reported by Reuters a month ago. TVNewser reaches out to “Today” quite regularly following up on this chatter. Recently, Bell told us, “I am very happy here. If you are a producer, it truly doesn’t get any better than working on the TODAY show and the Olympics.”

Could something change in the future? Of course. But nothing’s imminent.

This is the second story in as many days in the Daily News regarding the “Today” show.

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Matt Lauer: ‘Please print this story — it’s the most interesting and dangerous I’ve ever sounded!’

The New York Post‘s Page Six has an item today alleging that NBC “Today” anchor Matt Lauer has suddenly become ratings-obsessed and mean to staffers. It also reiterates some long-running rumors about Willie Geist and MSNBC “The Last Word” EP Izzy Povich possibly joining the program.

Even better than the actual item though is the response Lauer and “Today” EP Jim Bell gave to the Post:

When asked to comment, Lauer told us: “Please print this story — it’s the most interesting and dangerous I’ve ever sounded!” Bell added, “By the way, I’m the producer of the ‘Today’ show.”