In an executive shakeup, NBC is replacing the exec who has overseen the morning show "Today" since 2005, The New York Times’ Media Decoder reports.
Jim Bell will be replaced by Alexandra Wallace, a senior vice president at NBC News, marking the first time a woman has been put in charge of the show, the story reports.
Bell is departing after a rocky year for the program. He spearheaded a campaign to remove co-host Ann Curry, and then was blamed for the damage done to the show by the transition, the story notes.
Bell will move to NBCUniversal’s Olympics coverage, becoming a full-time executive producer there and reporting to NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus. It had been rumored that a shakeup was in the works.
After "Today" switched co-hosts, the program lost ground to ABC’s "Good Morning America" in the morning ratings. “Today” has lost 10 consecutive weeks in the key demo of viewers 25 to 54, the piece adds.
While men have largely run television’s morning shows, the programs’ audiences are mostly women, with 65% of "Today’s” audience composed of women and 70% for "GMA."
The management shakeup is overseen by Patricia Fili-Krushel, chairwoman of the newly created NBCUniversal News Group, and Steve Capus, the chief of the network’s news division. Fili-Krushel has been considering changes at "Today" since she was put in charge of the group in July by NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke, the piece adds.
Fili-Krushel declined an interview on Monday. She will likely tap a day-to-day producer of "Today" to work for Wallace, and may also make other changes, according to the report.
Wallace moved to NBC in 2005 from CBS, where she worked as a senior producer for that network’s morning show. At NBC, she produced "Weekend Today" and then oversaw "NBC Nightly News" as its executive producer. In September, Capus asked her to take over the struggling prime-time show "Rock Center with Brian Williams," a role she could maintain while also overseeing "Today," the piece adds.