NBC has gone completely outside its news division to try and revive its ailing Today show franchise, annointing an executive producer whose background is primarily covering the Olympic Games.
The network named Jim Bell executive producer of Today, replacing the newly-axed Tom Touchet.
Bell comes from the sports side of NBC, most recently serving as coordinating producer of NBC’s Olympics coverage.
He’s been with the network since 1990 as, among other things, a producer for NBC's broadcasts of football, basketball, baseball and tennis coverage.
Along the way he has picked up six Emmys in various production categories, though none of them in news.
The network has also named MSNBC’s vice president of prime time, Phil Griffin, to a senior post at NBC News.
Griffin will now serve as senior vice president of NBC News and “executive-in-charge” of Today. Bell will not report to Griffin, but to NBC News President Neil Shapiro.
Touchet's job has been at risk for months, with NBC executives increasingly anxious over its ratings slide.
The show was still number one, and a huge profit center for NBC, but its audience has been slipping while ABC's Good Morning America has come on strong, threatening to overtake Today in the ratings.