Noah Oppenheim, NBC News president since 2017, is stepping down from the role to work on film and TV projects for NBCUniversal. The exit is part of a larger restructuring at NBCUniversal News Group.
“I leave with enormous pride in all that we’ve accomplished together,” Oppenheim writes in a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser.
With Oppenheim leaving, NBCU News group chairman Cesar Conde announced Rebecca Blumenstein, a deputy managing editor at The New York Times, will take over as President of Editorial. Conde says the new role is meant “to drive our journalism and original content across our broadcast and digital platforms as they continue to converge.”
Blumenstein spent decades leading the newsrooms at The Times and The Wall Street Journal.
It’s an interesting move by Conde turning over leadership of the broadcast network’s news division to someone with limited TV experience. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Blumenstein has recently overseen the expansion of The Times’ coverage of business, technology, and the economy through new digital strategies.
In her new role, Blumenstein will oversee NBC News editorial, newsgathering, bureaus, field operations, booking, Meet the Press, Dateline and NBC News Studios. Conde will oversee the NBC Nightly News and Today franchises in his role as chairman.
In other management shifts, Libby Leist, who currently oversees Today, will report directly to Conde as EVP of Today and Lifestyle. Janelle Rodriguez, who currently oversees NBC Nightly News and NBC News Now, will maintain the same duties as EVP of NBC News Now.
MSNBC will continue to be led by its president, Rashida Jones.
Before ascending to the top position at NBC News, Oppenheim cut his teeth as a producer on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. He later took on major roles at CNBC and NBC’s Today, and was a guiding force behind the company’s digital expansion, including the launch of the company’s top-notch ad-supported streaming news service NBC News Now.
While his tenure is filled with positives (Today remains No. 1 in the demo, big numbers for NBC News Now, etc.) his tenure as president was also marked by controversy. Former MSNBC host/investigative journalist Ronan Farrow accused leadership at NBC, including Oppenheim, of trying to squash his investigation into allegations of sexual assault against the film producer Harvey Weinstein. Oppenheim and other NBCU executives claimed Farrow’s story for NBC News did not meet its standards for air. Farrow took his reporting to The New Yorker, and the rest is history.
A producer at heart, Oppenheim, according to The Times, is currently developing a limited series at Netflix starring Robert DeNiro. Tentatively titled Zero Day, the series is described as a political thriller in which DeNiro portrays an ex-president who returns to run the country in the wake of a major catastrophe.
Here’s Oppenheim’s note to NBC News staff, obtained by TVNewser.
From: “Noah Oppenheim (NBCUniversal)”
Date: January 11, 2023 at 1:00:30 PM EST
Subject: Personal News
Hi All –
After two years overseeing TODAY, and almost six years leading NBC News, I’ve decided it’s time for me to return to my other love – writing and producing TV and movies.
I leave with enormous pride in all that we’ve accomplished together.
TODAY is now not only the #1 morning show but a true multi-platform lifestyle brand.
Nightly News is one of the most-watched programs on all of television and its reporting drives our coverage 24/7 across all our platforms.
Meet The Press sets the agenda in politics every day, not just Sundays.
NBCNews.com has grown into a standalone world-class news organization, filled with some of the best print reporters in the country.
NBC News NOW is the dominant streaming news service, and NBC News is the leader on Snapchat and TikTok, bringing our work to a whole new generation.
And NBC News Studios is fast becoming a juggernaut from documentary features, to doc-series, to scripted adaptations of Dateline.
But for all the change these past six years, I’m most proud of what has remained constant – our resolute commitment to the traditional ethics of our profession.
NBC News remains the gold standard in journalism, upholding the values of objective, thoroughly sourced, non-partisan reporting.
The best part of this job has always been the people. Sharing this front-row seat to history with the smartest, most committed, and most compassionate colleagues has been a tremendous privilege.
I’ll be in the office for several more weeks helping with this transition. And I’ll remain part of the NBCU family moving forward. Soon, I’ll be launching a new venture with our colleagues in television and film on the west coast. More to come on that.
In the meantime, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your partnership and friendship. I’ll still be proudly watching everything you all accomplish.
After nearly six years leading NBC News, Noah Oppenheim will be changing his role to focus on his passion for producing movies and scripted television shows. We are excited for his new chapter and that he will continue to work closely with NBCUniversal in this new role. We are grateful for his leadership and the many accomplishments of NBC News during his tenure.
Noah’s transition comes at a momentous time for our profession. Over the last two years, we have often spoken about our responsibility of delivering world-class journalism to our audiences, the ways that the News Group has been evolving to stay ahead of the many changes in the technology that delivers the news, and rapidly shifting consumer habits.
We’ve built the largest news streaming network, which has more original programming than any other streaming news service and significant demand for more content. The TODAY brand has transformed from the leading morning television show to become a 24-hour lifestyle brand and a leading digital and e-commerce platform. And even as linear television viewership is declining across the board for sports, entertainment, and news programs, our broadcast programs at NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC remain both highly successful and the linchpins of everything we do and will be so for the foreseeable future.
To prepare for a future in which we build on our role as the nation’s most viewed news organization and seize the growth opportunity in front of us, our leadership structure must also evolve and reflect these trends. We have therefore decided to reorganize the leadership of the NBC News Division along the following lines.
We have created a new role at NBC News of President, Editorial, to drive our journalism and original content across our broadcast and digital platforms as they continue to converge. I’m pleased to announce that this new position will be filled by Rebecca Blumenstein, an award-winning national and international journalist who has spent decades leading the newsrooms at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, where she is deputy managing editor.
Throughout her career, Rebecca has proven herself to be an innovative leader across various platforms. At The Times, she has overseen the expansion and elevation of coverage of business, technology, and economic news, transforming The Times’s original content and improving its reach through new digital strategies. This included supervising the expansion of live coverage during the pandemic, the racial reckoning, the 2020 elections, and the January 6 insurrection. Rebecca has earned a reputation as a collaborative and inspirational leader at The Times and The Journal where she spent 21 years. Those who have worked with her speak highly of her journalistic judgment and her unwavering support for her team members. Rebecca will oversee all of our teams in editorial, news gathering, bureaus, field operations, booking, Meet the Press, Dateline, and NBC News Studios.
Libby Leist, who has very successfully led the expansion of the iconic TODAY television brand to become a digital powerhouse, will take on an expanded role as Executive Vice President, TODAY and Lifestyle. TODAY continues to be the leader in morning television, and in the last year, TODAY All Day delivered a record-breaking year, more than doubling its 2021 viewership. The last three years were TODAY’s best on record in monthly unique visitors, and TODAY now ranks in the top 3 of leading lifestyle and entertainment brands in monthly unique visitors. In her elevated position, Libby will continue to lead the future development of the unique TODAY franchise.
Janelle Rodriguez, who has brilliantly led the creation of the nation’s leading streaming news network, will now assume an elevated position as Executive Vice President, NBC News NOW, where she will continue to focus on building out our streaming news operation and oversee the Nightly News broadcast. Under Janelle’s leadership, NBC News NOW recently completed its third consecutive year of record growth, expanding more than 50 percent for each of the last two years. In the last year, it live-streamed nearly 100 million monthly views and 33 million hours watched each month.
These changes will take effect in the coming weeks. As part of this new structure, Rebecca, Libby, and Janelle will be reporting to me as they join the News Group’s leadership team.
I am also pleased to report that Noah, who has so ably led NBC News, will continue to work closely with us in a new capacity, developing scripts and long-form productions in partnership with NBCUniversal. As many of you know, among his many other accomplishments, Noah created NBC News Studios two years ago and has a long, passionate, and award-winning track record writing and producing long-form productions for streaming, television, and theatrical release. As a screenwriter, he wrote the critically acclaimed film Jackie, which was awarded Best Screenplay at the 73rd Venice Film Festival. He also co-wrote The Maze Runner, launching a trilogy that has grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide. We are grateful for Noah’s leadership in the News Group at NBC News during such an important time and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role.
Our new leadership structure lays an essential foundation for a bright future. I am confident that with your support and through your excellent work, we will continue to be successful in both serving our essential mission of informing the nation and expanding our reach at this consequential moment in our history. Please join me in welcoming Rebecca and congratulating Noah, Janelle, and Libby on their new roles.
Chairman, NBCUniversal News Group