Amid reports that NBC could replace Ann Curry on the Today show within the week, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said Wednesday that he is counting on the network’s coverage of the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in London to “revitalize” the newly vulnerable (and hugely profitable) morning show.
At a NBC Sports Group Olympic press conference in New York, Burke called the Olympics a “catalytic” event for how the company thinks of itself and how it promotes its other assets, which, since the Comcast-NBCU merger last year, are substantial.
“You’ll see during those 17 days, we’re going to try to set up the fall launch of NBC primetime as well as we can, we’re going to launch The Lorax DVD, we’re going to launch other things that are going on in other parts of the company, revitalize the Today show,” he said. “So hopefully getting the entire company to work together in a way that is unique to NBCUniversal to make the Olympics as great as possible, but then turn that favor back to the different parts of the company during the 17 days.”
Today executive producer Jim Bell, who is also executive producer of NBC’s Olympics coverage, sat on stage during part of the press conference, but was not asked to answer any questions about the impending anchor-shake up at Today and left immediately after the press conference’s conclusion, unlike other NBCU execs who stuck around to talk to reporters.
The Today show always has a large presence at the Olympics, and will broadcast much of the show from London during the 17 days of the Games. The high profile of the morning program at the Olympics is reported to be a factor in fast-tracking the anchor transition from Curry to her successor (a role that has been offered to Savannah Guthrie, according to the last round of reports), in order to have the new team in place prior to its broad exposure at the Games.