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.
Bell also took much of the heat for the ouster of Ann Curry as co-anchor earlier this year and the rough transition that followed. He told the New York Times in September that the decision to remove her was all his – and not Matt Lauer’s as had been rumored. “Hindsight is 20/20”, he said. “You can sit there and think this or that, but we’re comfortable with that decision (to make her anchor) and the one we’ve made now.”
Today’s ratings slide started in April just before Curry’s departure at the end of June. During the final week in August, ABC’s Good Morning America topped Today in total viewers and the key 25-54 demo by the widest margin in 18 years. Except for a slight bump during the London Olympics, GMA beat Today in eight of the last 10 weeks of the summer and has kept up the pace for much of the time this fall.