Jim Bell No Longer Pulling Double Duty, Leaving "Today" For NBC Sports Exec Producer Role
NBC's “Today” Exec Producer JIM BELL “will leave the morning program for a full-time position at NBC Sports, where he’ll be executive producer of the network’s Olympics coverage,” according to sources cited by Marisa Guthrie of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. It is unclear “exactly when Bell will exit the formerly top-rated morning show, but his departure has been rumored for some time.” Bell, who counts former NBC Sports Chair DICK EBERSOL “among his mentors at NBC, rose through the ranks of NBC Sports,” and he “pulled double duty during the summer as executive producer of the London Olympics.” NBC has the U.S. rights to the ‘14 Sochi Games, and last year “locked up rights to the next four Olympics for $4.38 billion.” Bell had “professed as recently as late September to being fully committed to ‘Today,’ even as rumors of his departure were rampant” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 11/12). In N.Y., Don Kaplan notes Bell “has been at the helm of ‘Today’ since 2005 and many in the television news industry believe that the show lost its dominant place in morning TV because it became ‘stale’ under Bell’s watch” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/13). Also in N.Y., Brian Stelter noted Bell led the effort earlier this year to remove ANN CURRY from "Today" and "received much of the blame for the damage done by the transition." In his new role, Bell will report to NBC Sports Group Chair MARK LAZARUS (NYTIMES.com, 11/12).