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Volume 26 No. 45
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NBC Olympics Producer Jim Bell Leaving Net After 29 Years

Bell (c) is a 29-year NBC veteran who has overseen Olympic production since the ’12 London Games
Photo: getty images

Less than a year before the Tokyo Olympics, NBC Sports Group is in the market for an exec to oversee production of the games. JIM BELL, a 29-year NBC veteran, announced this morning that he is leaving his post as President of NBC Olympics Production & Programming, an announcement that shocked sports media execs who saw Bell as an important cog in NBC's Olympic programming. An NBC spokesperson confirmed that Bell was leaving but did not offer a comment about who would run production and programming in Tokyo. One potential replacement is SAM FLOOD, who is NBC Sports Group Exec Producer. It is not known if the Olympics will fall under him or if it will be given to one of a cadre of Olympic production execs who report to Bell.

NO REASON KNOWN FOR MOVE: It is not known why Bell is leaving NBC. He has overseen Olympic production since the ’12 London Games and first started working on the Olympics during the ’92 Barcelona Games. He spent the past year overseeing production of “The Tonight Show.” Last year, he was Exec Producer of Telemundo’s World Cup coverage. In a prepared statement, Bell cited “a strong desire to delve into something new -- to build on my experience in news, sports and entertainment so I can broaden and deepen my leadership role in the content universe.” Bell acknowledged the coming Olympics in his statement, writing, “We have positioned NBC Sports for an incredible Summer Olympics next year, and so I believe the timing is perfect for me to forge a new path.”

NBC’S STATEMENT: In a joint quote provided to reporters from NBCU Broadcast, Cable, Sports & News Chair MARK LAZARUS and Sports Group President PETE BEVACQUA, the execs said, “We have a large number of experienced and talented people who have worked alongside Jim in the NBC Sports Group, and we will be making decisions about structural changes to the team in the coming weeks.” They highlighted Bell’s NBC career, where he has been “a part of every major sports production. … As President, NBC Olympics Production & Programming, he has overseen the significant increase in our ability to make every Olympic event available live online, as well as production enhancements that have kept our award-winning Olympic broadcasts on the cutting edge of the sports media landscape.”