Today senior producer Libby Leist has been named the show’s executive producer to replace Don Nash, the veteran EP whose departure was announced to Today staff today.
“Don leaves a big hole at Today, but we are so fortunate to have extraordinary producers who can step up,” wrote NBC News chairman Andrew Lack in a memo to staff. (See it below).
Leist’s promotion puts a woman in the top producing spot on a show that already broke ground recently by naming two women as co-anchors: Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.
The staffing change-ups come in the wake of longtime co-anchor Matt Lauer’s dismissal amidst charges of sexual misconduct and harassment.
Nash has been the show’s executive producer since 2012, and has been with the network for 23 years, previously serving as senior broadcast producer.
“The balance of my love for both of them has been out of whack for too long,” Nash wrote in a memo to his NBC colleagues today, obtained by Deadline. “The time has come for me to step away from Today and be a better dad to my two beautiful girls. They are what matter to me most.”
Lack, in his memo, says Nash has been offered “a number of roles within NBC News and NBCUniversal” and that “we hope he’ll stay in the family.”
Leist will serve as EP of Today‘s 7 am and 8 am hours. She has been senior producer of the 7 am hour for five years, leading the show’s political coverage and special events. She started her career at NBC News as a Washington D.C. desk assistant in 2001.
Here is Lack’s memo, followed by Nash’s:
The TODAY show couldn’t be in a stronger position. Savannah and Hoda have seamlessly taken their seats and we’re off to a fantastic start in 2018. This is a tribute to them and the whole team at TODAY.
With this change in anchors, and having rethought some of his priorities, Don Nash has decided to step away from his Executive Producer role at TODAY.
I cannot thank Don enough for everything he contributed in nearly 30 years at TODAY – almost half of the show’s 66-year history. He led the TODAY team through many transitions and got the show back to number one. He leaves with every aspect of the show on top and with a legacy he should be proud of. As you all know so well, among many other skills Don is one of the best live control room producers in the business. We’ve offered him a number of roles within NBC News and NBCUniversal, and we hope he’ll stay in the family.
Don leaves a big hole at TODAY, but we are so fortunate to have extraordinary producers who can step up.
We are pleased to announce that Libby Leist is being promoted to EP of TODAY’s 7am and 8am hours. Libby brings tremendous talent and experience to this role, having served as senior producer of the 7am hour for the last 5 years. She has led the show’s political coverage and special events, including candidate town halls and TODAY’s historic broadcast from inside the White House. Libby has spent her career at NBC News, starting as a desk assistant in DC in 2001, and later rising to become Andrea Mitchell’s State Department producer – a role for which she traveled the world – and then several senior producer roles in the bureau, including MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown and Capitol Hill producer.
Libby will report to Noah, and will work closely with Tom Mazzarelli who will continue in his pivotal role for the show; as well as with Jackie Levin, EP of the 9am, Tammy Filler, EP of the 10am and Matt Carluccio, EP of weekends.
Please join me in wishing Don every success in his next endeavor and congratulating Libby on her promotion.
The memo from Nash:
For many years, I have had two families: the one at home, and everyone at TODAY.
The balance of my love for both of them has been out of whack for too long. The time has come for me to step away from TODAY and be a better dad to my two beautiful girls. They are what matter to me most.
I relished every single moment of my time on the show. I still can’t believe I had the honor to work at this storied institution for so long. I will forever cherish the unbelievable experiences and incredible people I have had the privilege to work with. It was so much fun.
Dr. Seuss wrote, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I’m so glad it happened.
TODAY is number one again, because of all of you. I hope you take a moment to bask in the glory of what you have created and accomplished. You should be so proud.
Keep soaring. I’ll be cheering you on from afar.
With love and so much respect,