Don Nash Leaving Today Show; Libby Leist Named EP

By Chris Ariens Comment

Don Nash, the longtime executive producer of the Today show, is leaving the program.

Nash has been with NBC News for nearly 30 years, most of that time at the Today show, and since 2012 as executive producer.

“The time has come for me to step away from TODAY and be a better dad to my two beautiful girls,” Nash wrote in an email to staffers this morning. “They are what matter to me most.”

Nash joined NBC News as a page in the network’s Burbank studios in 1989. He joined Today 10 years later and was Matt Lauer‘s longtime producer. He’s been offered other jobs within NBC, but his plans are not yet known.

“I cannot thank Don enough for everything he contributed in nearly 30 years at TODAY – almost half of the show’s 66-year history,” wrote NBC News chairman Andy Lack in a note to staff. “He led the TODAY team through many transitions and got the show back to number one.”

Taking over for Nash is Libby Leist who has been senior producer of the 7 a.m. hour for the last 5 years. A politics veteran, Leist was the former Washington producer for the Today show. The 16-year NBC veteran has also been Andrea Mitchell’s State Department producer and was a senior producer on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown.

Tom Mazzarelli continues on with Leist as co-EP.

Leist becomes the first female executive producer of the primary Today show hours of 7-9 a.m., which now includes two women as lead anchors. Past Today show EP’s include Jim Bell, now president of NBC Olympics programming and production, and Jeff Zucker, now president of CNN Worldwide.

Here’s Nash’s note:

Hi All,

For many years, I have had two families: the one at home, and everyone at TODAY.

The balance of my love for both of them has been out of whack for too long. The time has come for me to step away from TODAY and be a better dad to my two beautiful girls. They are what matter to me most.

I relished every single moment of my time on the show. I still can’t believe I had the honor to work at this storied institution for so long. I will forever cherish the unbelievable experiences and incredible people I have had the privilege to work with. It was so much fun.

Dr. Seuss wrote, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I’m so glad it happened.

TODAY is number one again, because of all of you. I hope you take a moment to bask in the glory of what you have created and accomplished. You should be so proud.

Keep soaring. I’ll be cheering you on from afar.

With love and so much respect,

Don

And here’s the note from Lack.

Colleagues,

The TODAY show couldn’t be in a stronger position. Savannah and Hoda have seamlessly taken their seats and we’re off to a fantastic start in 2018. This is a tribute to them and the whole team at TODAY.

With this change in anchors, and having rethought some of his priorities, Don Nash has decided to step away from his Executive Producer role at TODAY.

I cannot thank Don enough for everything he contributed in nearly 30 years at TODAY – almost half of the show’s 66-year history. He led the TODAY team through many transitions and got the show back to number one. He leaves with every aspect of the show on top and with a legacy he should be proud of. As you all know so well, among many other skills Don is one of the best live control room producers in the business. We’ve offered him a number of roles within NBC News and NBCUniversal, and we hope he’ll stay in the family.

Don leaves a big hole at TODAY, but we are so fortunate to have extraordinary producers who can step up.

We are pleased to announce that Libby Leist is being promoted to EP of TODAY’s 7am and 8am hours. Libby brings tremendous talent and experience to this role, having served as senior producer of the 7am hour for the last 5 years. She has led the show’s political coverage and special events, including candidate town halls and TODAY’s historic broadcast from inside the White House. Libby has spent her career at NBC News, starting as a desk assistant in DC in 2001, and later rising to become Andrea Mitchell’s State Department producer – a role for which she traveled the world – and then several senior producer roles in the bureau, including MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown and Capitol Hill producer.

Libby will report to Noah, and will work closely with Tom Mazzarelli who will continue in his pivotal role for the show; as well as with Jackie Levin, EP of the 9am, Tammy Filler, EP of the 10am and Matt Carluccio, EP of weekends.

Please join me in wishing Don every success in his next endeavor and congratulating Libby on her promotion.

Andy

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