(Anthony Quintano / NBC News…)
NBCUniversal has promoted two veteran news executives -- Alexandra Wallace and Don Nash -- to manage its profitable but troubled morning program "Today," which has taken a dramatic tumble in the ratings.
On Wednesday, NBC announced that it had elevated Nash, a 23-year veteran of the show, to the job of executive producer, overseeing the broadcast's operations. He replaces Jim Bell, who is moving to NBC Sports to manage editorial content for the company's Olympics broadcasts.
In his new role, Nash, 47, will be responsible for all four hours of "Today," and will be the executive in charge of the show's staff. He takes over Dec. 1, and will report to Wallace, who was promoted to the newly created role of "executive in charge" of the "Today" show.
"In that capacity, Wallace will have executive oversight of 'Today,' " NBC said in a prepared statement.
NBC management, including Bell, became targets of criticism after the network unceremoniously dumped Ann Curry as "Today" co-host in June amid declining ratings. NBC tapped Savannah Guthrie to replace Curry, but the show has since fallen further behind its cross-town rival, ABC's "Good Morning America," which recently grabbed the mantle of the No. 1 show in the important daytime block.
Viewership for "Good Morning America" is up 3% so far this season, according to Nielsen ratings. "Today" is down about 15%. Last week, "GMA" averaged 5.5 million viewers a telecast. "Today" averaged 5.3 million.
Wallace, 47, will continue as executive producer of the prime-time program “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” which also has struggled for traction.
She previously served as a senior vice president of NBC News, and as chief deputy to NBC News President Steve Capus, and will report to him, part of an increasingly layered hierarchy being established within the company's news division.
Capus previously reported to NBCUniversal Chief Steve Burke but last summer Capus was moved down a notch in the corporate structure. He now reports to Pat Fili-Krushel, a former Time Warner and ABC executive, who became chairwoman of the NBCUniversal News Group, which includes cable channels CNBC and MSNBC.
“Don Nash deserves to be at the helm of ‘Today,' " Capus said Wednesday in a prepared statement. "He is a beloved member of the 'Today' family who brings vision, commitment and a deep familiarity to all aspects of the broadcast. The formidable individual talents of Alex, Don and the ‘Today’ leadership are now combined and I’m confident our team is well-positioned for success.”
Nash has been the show’s senior broadcast producer for seven years, running the live broadcast from the control room each morning. NBC said Nash has overseen hundreds of breaking news events including three presidential elections, the capture of Osama bin Laden and the "Dark Knight Rises" movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.
Nash began his career at NBC in 1989 as a page in Burbank. A decade later, he moved to New York to become a senior producer for the show. Nash graduated from UCLA with a bachelor of arts in communications studies. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Gaylen, and their two daughters, Cassidy and Alice.
"Today" show shake-up, Jim Bell moves to Sports