New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is taking on a new gig. He’ll be co-hosting the 8 AM hour of the Today show on Friday, May 24 from the Jersey Shore, NBC said today. He’ll also sit down for an interview and talk about the state’s ongoing Hurricane Sandy efforts. The show also will include a live concert by the indie pop band fun. The Friday show wraps up a week-long Great American Adventure where Today‘s Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist will broadcast from five different remote locations beginning Monday in Honolulu. They then head to Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday, Chicago on Wednesday and Orlando, FL on Thursday. Today is exec-produced by Don Nash. Mary Alice O’Rourke is the senior producer overseeing Today’s Great American Adventure.
Once is bad, twice is worse for Today. For a second consecutive month, the NBC morning show was beaten in its home market by Fox station WNYW’s Good Day New York. In the February sweep, Good Day New York won over Today with an average 1.3/9 rating compared with the NBC show’s 1.2/8. That marked the first time that’s happened since Nielsen’s Local People Meters were introduced in 2003. With the close of the March frame, Good Day New York garnered a 1.4/9 to Today’s 1.3/9. The local show had 115,000 viewers in the adults 25-54 demographic on average in March, compared to Today’s 105,000. The local show is up 23% versus its performance with adults 25-54 last March. Today, on the other hand, is down 27% from last year. The spread this month was similar to the February difference: Last month, Good Day New York had an average of 112,500 viewers in the demo, while Today had 102,700.
Today‘s Matt Lauer this morning interviewed filmmaker John Ziegler, who has spent a year poring through evidence in the Penn State pedophile scandal to make a documentary he hopes will clear the name of the late legendary head coach Joe Paterno. Now, Paterno’s only alleged transgression was not being aggressive when a graduate assistant (who’d later become a coach) brought to his attention an “encounter” in the football showers between former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and an underage boy that sounded like molestation. We’ve written numerous stories on the subject, breaking stories about a feature film in the works that will likely re-team Scarface director Brian De Palma and Al Pacino for Happy Valley. That is the working title of a film based on Paterno, the book written by Joe Posnanski. Paterno was unceremoniously fired after the scandal shocked the nation, and the NCAA took unprecedented actions against the school, including stripping the coach of the distinction of being the winning-est major college football coach in history. All for the failure of Paterno and university higher-ups to do next to nothing to stop Sandusky, supposedly fearing bad publicity for the powerhouse gridiron program they presided over.
NBC’s Today show on Monday plans to show excerpts from interviews with former Penn State University assistant football coach and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. “The former longtime defensive coordinator will describe what he says happened on the campus, and …
Matt Lauer criticized NBC over Ann Curry‘s dismissal and says he offered to quit. At least that’s the way NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke remembers it according to a piece today from Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast. The offer came amid Today‘s declining ratings and the messy departure of Ann Curry in June in favor of Savannah Guthrie. “If you think the show’s better off without me, let me know, and I’ll get out of the way,” Burke said Lauer told him. Burke said no way. Lauer had taken the lion’s share of criticism for how Curry left the show, with some reports blaming him directly for forcing her out. The backlash of that move was the start of a ratings crater — the next month, rival Good Morning America beat Today in total viewers and the 25-54 demo for the first time in 17 years. “I don’t think the show and the network handled the [Curry] transition well. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that,” Lauer told the website. (In fact, former NBC News president Steve Capus told Kurtz that Lauer told the network to give Curry time to adjust to her relatively new role as co-anchor. “He was quietly and publicly a supporter of Ann’s throughout the entire process. It is unfair that Matt has shouldered an undue amount of blame for a decision he disagreed with”, Capus said.) Lauer added, “We were seen as a family, and we didn’t handle a family matter well”.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE 12 PM: NBC’s embattled morning program Today may be opting for some needed stability amidst the turmoil of the last several months. I hear that senior broadcast producer Don Nash, a well-regarded 23-year Today veteran who recently served as No. 2 to executive producer Jim Bell, is being elevated to executive producer.
Following the botched replacement of co-host Ann Curry with Savannah Guthrie in the summer, Today underwent another major shakeup earlier this week with the departure of long-time executive producer Bell. NBC News SVP Alexandra Wallace has taken over the reins of Today as executive in charge, but insiders had indicated she would likely be joined by a day-to-day producer. I hear Nash is getting the job, providing some continuity at the No. 2 morning show.
New York – November 14, 2012 – Veteran “Today” show Senior Broadcast Producer Don Nash has been promoted to Executive Producer of the iconic morning show. The announcement was made today by Steve Capus, President, NBC News.
Effective December 1, Nash succeeds former “Today” Executive Producer Jim Bell who has been appointed Executive Producer of NBCUniversal’s Olympic Coverage.
As Executive Producer, Nash will be responsible for all four hours of “Today” program content and will lead the broadcast’s management team and program staff.
Nash will report to Alexandra Wallace, who has been appointed Executive in Charge of the “Today” show. In that capacity, Wallace will have executive oversight of “Today.” Wallace will continue to report to Capus.
Jim Bell was executive producer of both NBCUniversal’s London Olympics coverage and NBC‘s morning show Today over the summer. He was replaced yesterday at Today after seven years amid flailing ratings and a widely perceived mishandling of Ann Curry’s ouster, with reports that he would land back at the NBC Olympics unit led by Gary Zenkel. Now he will settle in full-time at NBC Sports Group under chairman Mark Lazarus and have “editorial and creative control.” Here’s the full release:
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.
NBC is shaking up the leadership at the Today show. Alexandra Wallace, SVP of NBC News, will be in charge of the four-hour program, The New York Times reports. The Times cites people at the network who described the plan on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced. She and a yet-to-be-named producer will succeed Jim Bell, who’s been in charge of the show since 2005. Bell was executive producer of last summer’s London Olympic games and reportedly will be returning to his roots at NBC Sports full time, according to TV Newser. Bell succeeded former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, who executive produced every Olympics from 1992 until his abrupt departure in May over a contractual dispute when he was replaced by Mark Lazarus. Bell spent 16 years with NBC Sports & Olympics and worked on every Olympic Games NBC has broadcast since 1992 in either sports (1992, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004) 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.