Palace Intrigue During ‘Today’ Show Changes

By Chris Ariens Comment

Joe Hagan‘s 6,400-word New York magazine cover story on the “Today” show’s troubles includes intriguing behind-the-scenes details that TV producers would love to dramatize for an audience — if so many TV producers weren’t involved. Hagan writes about the acrimony between two now-departed NBC News executives, Jim Bell the longtime “Today” show EP and his boss, Steve Capus, who departed NBC News after 20 years last month.

Bell’s direct boss was Steve Capus, president of NBC News, who’d risen to power as the aggressive producer of Nightly News. Capus was involved in some of those conversations and agreed that Curry was a problem. But that wasn’t Capus’s only issue. He was rankled by Bell’s close relationship with [NBCU CEO Steve] Burke, worrying that Bell was consolidating power and angling to replace him. The two jockeyed for control over the Curry situation, sending mixed messages and sowing confusion, which made the trouble much harder to resolve.

And while Capus and Bell have moved on — Bell to NBC Olympics — the changes did not end there. The two people now in charge of “Today” had also “eyed the door,” reports Hagan:

When Bell was moved off Today, [NBC News Group chief Pat] Fili-Krushel tried replacing him with two women producers, but Lauer protested and pressured her to hire Bell’s former No. 2, Don Nash. Fili-Krushel hired NBC producer Alexandra Wallace (disclosure: Her brother, Ben, is a writer for this magazine) to oversee the redesign of the show. In the months leading up to this, both Nash and Wallace had eyed the door, having informal conversations with ABC News.