NBC Newsers Take On Outsized Role at NBCU Upfront

By A.J. Katz 

NBCUniversal has experienced a bizarre couple of weeks. Its CEO Jeff Shell was recently ousted following a sexual harassment complaint filed against him by CNBC International anchor Hadley Gamble. NBCU advertising and partnerships chairman Linda Yaccarino exited the company last week after it was announced she was accepting the role of Twitter CEO.

Oh, and then there’s the WGA strike, which meant that the company’s broadcast and cable entertainment creatives wouldn’t be present at this year’s NBCUniversal upfront, which took place Monday morning at Radio City Music Hall, as planned.

In light of the strike, more NBCU News Group on-air talent than usual took the upfront stage to pitch the company’s programming to advertisers in attendance this morning.

After a welcome from NBCU TV and streaming chief Mark Lazarus and a segment from Extra host Mario Lopez, NBC News’ Sunday Today host Willie Geist took the Radio City stage to talk Saturday Night Live, saying the show’s 50th anniversary celebration will take place on Feb. 16, 2025.

CNBC Squawk Box co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin introduced new NBCUniversal cable and entertainment dramas, including a new show starring Mandy Moore and others.

Similar to Sorkin, MSNBC’s The 11th Hour host Stephanie Ruhle teed up a reel promoting new NBCU dramas, including a Peacock drama staring Anthony Hopkins.

After Ruhle, Tom Llamas, the host of NBC News Now’s Top Story, appeared on stage to tease a new NBC Planet Earth-esque miniseries in partnership with BBC Studios called The Americas.

Later in the presentation, NBC News Now’s Savannah Sellers pitched new content from NBCU’s film brands for Peacock, including Universal Pictures and DreamWorks.

Then, it was time for the NBCU News Group portion of the presentation — by far the longest of the morning.

Today show co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb kicked things off, and after giving their intro, were joined by streaming anchors Tom Llamas, Savannah Sellers and Joe Fryer, who spoke about NBC News Now and streaming news more generally.

The streamers were followed by CNBC Squawk Box co-hosts Becky Quick, Joe Kernen and Andrew Ross Sorkin, who spoke about CNBC and financial news.

Alex Wagner, Steve Kornacki and Jen Psaki represented MSNBC on stage, and were followed by Telemundo anchors Vanessa Hauc and Julio Vaqueiro.

No Lester Holt this year. He was scheduled to be on stage, per usual, but got sick and wasn’t able to make it.

Their respective presentations were followed by an NBCU news Group sizzle reel, which included NBCU News Group chairman Cesar Conde.