SBD/April 24, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Behind The Scenes At NBC: Jim Bell Told To Choose Between "Today," Olympics

Bell (l) was given an ultimatum about a month after the London Games
Sunday’s N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE cover story offers an excerpt from author BRIAN STELTER's upcoming book, "Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,” which looks at the recent turmoil around NBC’s “TODAY” show. After the departure of ANN CURRY, "many NBC executives were coming around to the idea that it was the show that ‘didn’t work.’” NBCUniversal CEO STEVE BURKE began to clean up “Today” and put NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC into one division under the management of NBCUniversal Chair PAT FILI-KRUSHEL, "one of his most trusted executives." Fili-Krushel “wanted to make the show move faster and make its set feel warmer and friendlier." She also "wanted to replace its producer." About a month after the '12 London Games ended, Fili-Krushel met with NBC Olympics Coverage Exec Producer JIM BELL and “told him that he had a choice.” He could produce “Today” or he could produce future Olympics broadcasts, “but he couldn’t do both.” If Bell stayed at “Today,” Fili-Krushel said he needed to “do some soul searching.” Fili-Krushel told him to "decide if you have the energy to evolve this show.” Bell “held on for weeks, even while Fili-Krushel and NBC News President STEVE CAPUS started to consider candidates for his job." Eventually, he "chose the Olympics.” Stelter notes Bell “disputes this account,” and “says he chose to focus on the Olympics independently" (N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE, 4/21 issue).
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