During Oppenheim’s previous stint at Today, from 2005-2008, he was in charge of the 7 AM hour – aka The Serious News Hour – and the show was on top in the ratings. In today’s announcement, NBC News noted Oppenheim spent eight years at the network – including as executive producer of MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and senior producer of Hardball. The news division also noted he has spent the last six years “in the entertainment industry, most recently as a screenwriter” – a Hollywood connection that is expected to serve him well running Today’s other hours.
His new gig puts him in charge of the whole operation, including the show’s digital presence.
Horowitz, you’ll recall, was the ESPN exec hired away from ESPN – a move that went so badly he was actually shown the door before his official start date. Among his transgressions, he is said to have wanted to move Hoda Kotb, who now co-hosts the boozy fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford, to co-host the first hours with Matt Lauer, replacing Savannah Guthrie. While this may not have been such a bad idea — coming, as it did, not long after the show’s Ann Curry Exit Bad Optics Disaster — it was like tossing tritonal into Studio 1A.