Amid surging ratings, and on the heels of the high-profile ouster of “Today” fixture Matt Lauer, Don Nash, the show’s executive producer since 2012, is stepping down, NBC said today.
Nash, who has been described as an intimate ally of Lauer, will be succeeded by Libby Leist, meaning all four hours of “Today” will now be overseen by women.
“What’s more, with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, Megyn Kelly and Kathie Lee Gifford in front of the camera, the lead anchors of all four hours are also women,” The Daily Beast notes.
Leist, who has been senior producer of the 7 a.m. hour of “Today,” will be in charge of the 7-9 a.m. block, with Jackie Levin remaining executive producer of Kelly’s 9.am. hour and Tammy Filler continuing to executive produce the 10 a.m. hour featuring Kotb and Gifford.
The New York Times describes Leist as “a veteran ‘Today’ producer with deep ties to Washington and a strong working relationship with Savannah Guthrie, a co-anchor. The move makes Ms. Leist the first woman to hold the top producing job for the show’s first two hours.”
The Times report adds: “’Today’ has surged in the ratings since Mr. Lauer’s firing, beating ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ for seven straight weeks, its longest such streak in nearly six years. Some people in the television industry have asked whether the NBC show’s rise reflects early interest in the post-Lauer era at ‘Today’ — Hoda Kotb was named as his permanent replacement this month — or whether it signals a long-term shift. Even NBC officials have been caught off guard by the strong viewership figures.”
Just before the announcement of Nash’s exit, former “Today” anchor Ann Curry, who left the show in 2012, appeared on “CBS This Morning” and discussed sexual harassment at “Today,” noting that she was not surprised to hear about Lauer’s alleged misbehavior. Curry’s high-profile exit from “Today” was widely regarded as having been handled poorly by NBC, with some observers attributing Curry’s ouster to Lauer.
You can see Curry’s appearance on “CBS This Morning” by clicking here.