It appears that Dick Ebersol’s exile from 30 Rock will be rather short-lived, as NBC’s former Olympics guru is rejoining the fold as a special advisor to NBC Sports Group president Mark Lazarus.
Ebersol, who left NBC in May after he and Comcast executives could not come to terms on a new contract, will return to the fold in time for the start of the 2011-12 NFL campaign. NBC’s sixth season of Sunday Night Football kicks off Sept. 8 with a matchup between the two most recent Super Bowl champs, the Packers and Saints.
Lazarus on Tuesday said he was looking forward to continuing his association with Ebersol, adding that he’ll offer invaluable insight and experience to NBC’s big event coverage.
Along with the Sunday Night Football broadcasts, Ebersol will also advise NBC Sports on its coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. It’s little wonder Lazarus should look to tap the natural resource that is Ebersol; not only did he negotiate NBC’s Olympic deals, but as executive producer, he’s put on the most successful TV sportscasts in history.
NBCU’s 3,600 hours of Beijing Olympics coverage drew a record 215 million viewers, making it the most-watched U.S. television event of all time. The 2008 Games may also be the last to turn a profit. While NBCU was $100 million in the black after the 17-day spectacle, two years later the company lost $223 million on the Winter Games in Vancouver.
The news of Ebersol’s surprise return comes on the heels of NBC Universal’s announcement that it has tapped Today show executive producer Jim Bell to serve as executive producer of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Bell was originally hired by Ebersol in 1990. He worked on NBC’s Olympics coverage for 16 years, beginning with the Barcelona Games, winning four Emmys. He also took home a Peabody for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Opening Ceremonies.
“It is an honor to return to the Olympics, the pinnacle of sports television. And for nearly 25 years no one has done it better than NBC,” Bell said. “It is especially exciting to be working with so many good friends and former colleagues.”