NBC News Boss Thanks Staff for ‘Extraordinary Week’

By Chris Ariens 

LauerMiddletonNBC News president Deborah Turness emailed her staff on Friday, thanking them for “driving the success we’ve seen for such great results.” Turness pointed to three big interviews by Matt Lauer last week, including Pippa Middleton, Mary Barra and Amy Van Dyken-Rouen as well as David Gregory’s headline-making interview with Pres. Clinton, which will be played in its entirety this morning on “Meet the Press.”

“What a week! We should all be so proud of what has been achieved. Thanks to each and every person who made it all possible,” Turness writes. Read the note in full, after the jump…

Dear All,
It has been an extraordinary week and I want to thank everyone involved in driving the success we’ve seen for such great results.
Matt Lauer scored not one, not two, but three huge interviews for the TODAY show, flying from London to Detroit to Denver in the span of just two days. On Wednesday, he sat down with Pippa Middleton for her first-ever television interview. The full conversation airs next Monday and Tuesday, but Matt was live on the show on Wednesday from the London garden where the interview was done to break the news of his scoop. He then jumped on a plane and flew to Detroit to talk with GM CEO Mary Barra in her first television interview since the company’s massive recall of vehicles, live on Thursday’s show. Finally, Matt closed out the week back in the TODAY studio, via a stopover in Denver where he witnessed the optimism and fighting spirit of Amy Van Dyken-Rouen as she adjusts to her new life after being paralyzed in an accident.

Those interviews—and the rest of the show—were available to radio listeners for the very first time. On Wednesday, the TODAY Show Radio Channel launched on SiriusXM (channel 108), an exciting and important collaboration for us. We want to be on every platform and device our consumers are using, and now Sirius’s 25 million subscribers can take the TODAY show with them during their busy morning routines and daily drives.

Meet the Press has also scored this week, with David Gregory’s exclusive interview with former President Bill Clinton. Their candid conversation has already sparked national headlines, and we’ll see the full version on this Sunday’s broadcast. On that same show, Cynthia McFadden will give our viewers a rare look at a day inside the West Wing with Valerie Jarrett, one of the most powerful women in Washington.

Meanwhile our teams in Iraq have kept us ahead of the competition on Nightly News, TODAY and NBCNews.com through sharp reporting and great access. Richard Engel’s exclusive and revealing ride-along with Iraq’s armed forces, Andrea Mitchell’s travels alongside and interview with Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ayman Mohyeldin’s dispatches from the north are just a few examples of coverage that have kept our storytelling vibrant and compelling.

It’s the kind of coverage that has driven strong ratings to NBC Nightly News. I’d like to congratulate Brian and the team for topping the nearest competition by more than 1 million viewers for the second straight week. Driven by the strength and dominance of the broadcast night after night, Nightly is drawing its biggest season-to-date audience in eight years and delivering its largest lead over ABC in three years. Nightly also continues to post the largest season-to-season growth among the field and is widening its advantage over ABC by more than a third.

Finally, tonight, please do tune in to Meredith Vieira’s special, “A Leap of Faith” at 8 pm/7c. This special report takes viewers inside the frontlines of an emerging medical breakthrough that is both experimental and controversial—but has the potential to save so many lives.

What a week! We should all be so proud of what has been achieved. Thanks to each and every person who made it all possible.