NBC News executives have finally reacted to The Today Show’s faltering ratings by replacing longtime executive producer Jim Bell, in an effort to recapture the ratings crown it lost to ABC’s Good Morning America a few months ago.
It was Bell who fired co-host Ann Curry after just one year, which created a firestorm for the manner in which it was handled, and wound up exacerbating The Today Show’s ratings decline.
While the ratings had fallen after Curry took over from Meredith Vieira, The Today Show was still the number one morning news program in the country, albeit with ABC’s Good Morning America breathing down its neck.
However, Bell’s abrupt firing of Curry seemed to act as the trigger that enabled GMA to leap ahead of Today. Fans reacted angrily by leaving the show and giving lukewarm reviews to Curry’s replacement, Savannah Guthrie.
Now, less than five months after firing Curry, Bell finds himself being replaced, which should give a small measure of satisfaction to Curry.
The change at the top was long overdue with Today having slipped from its 16-year perch at the top of the morning ratings, which was potentially going to cost NBC tens of millions of dollars in lost ad revenue.
Unless Wallace can engineer a dramatic turnaround at Today, there may not be too many tomorrow’s in her future at the helm.