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NBC Shuffles Management at ‘Today’

Apr 19, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Weeks of rumors about management change at NBC’s “Today” show are about to come true with the announcement that Tom Touchet is out after 2½ years as executive producer of the morning show and two new leaders are coming in.

TelevisionWeek has learned that Phil Griffin, VP of prime-time programming at MSNBC and a founding producer of NBC’s 9-year-old 24-hour cable news channel, is expected to become executive in charge of “Today,” and Jim Bell, a well-regarded NBC Sports producer, is to be executive producer. “Today” remains the No. 1 morning show, but it has lost much of its ratings lead to ABC’s fast-gaining “Good Morning America.”

Mr. Griffin served two stints as writer-producer on “Today,” from 1983 to 1987 and 1988 to 1991. Mr. Bell’s NBC Sports assignments have included that of coordinating producer of the Olympics.

Mr. Touchet spent more than five years as a producer on “GMA” before he was recruited to run “Today” in November 2002. He succeeded Jonathan Wald, who lasted only 16 months in the top “Today” spot before his relationship with its $14 million-per-year anchor Katie Couric was declared irretrievably broken.

Ms. Couric also was rumored to have cooled on Mr. Touchet, who is thought to have had the support of co-anchor Matt Lauer.

Mr. Griffin’s assignment as executive in charge of “Today” will mean that NBC News VP Lisa Hsia can focus on her other areas of responsibility, including oversight of prime-time news programming.