NBC News President Deborah Turness announced late yesterday that Today show Senior VP and GM Jamie Horowitz had been dismissed, effective immediately, after less than three months at the network.
Turness told the staff in a memo that she decided that Horowitz wasn’t the “right fit” for the show, and that she will oversee the show until a replacement is found.
That’s an about face from May when Turness announced his hiring, and praised him to the sky:
Jamie is the perfect person for this crucial role — he is a visionary leader, a creative thinker and a seasoned expert in developing and driving brands that truly connect.
Apparently his vision and Turness’ conflicted, leaving Horowitz on the outs.
This is an embarrassing episode for NBC News, which agreed to let Bill Wolff, the VP of Primetime Programs at MSNBC and executive producer of The Rachel Maddow Show, out of his contract early to move to ABC in order to get the network to agree to let Horowitz join Today three months ahead of schedule.
Horowitz’s firing doesn’t bode well for the immediate future of Today, which has been struggling for the last two and a half years and desperately hopes to regain the ratings crown it lost to Good Morning America.
Here is Turness’ memo:
I want to let you know that, effective today, Jamie Horowitz will be leaving NBC News.
Jamie joined us in September as General Manager of the TODAY brand. He’s a talented producer and executive, but, together, he and I have come to the conclusion that this is not the right fit.
Because of the hard work of so many of you, and an anchor team that is hitting on all cylinders, the show has great momentum and is closing the ratings gap. The exclusives keep coming and there is a great energy both on- and off-air, and in digital and social. My focus – as always – is to support this special brand and its amazing and dedicated staff, and to position it for continued success.
The role of General Manager remains an important one, and will be filled in due course. In the interim, I will work closely with both Don Nash and Jen Brown to oversee TODAY.
Please join me in thanking Jamie and wishing him the best.