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NBC names new Today show chiefs

Date November 14, 2012

(Reuters) - Comcast's NBC has appointed two executives to take charge of the "Today" show, a day after the television network announced that longtime producer Jim Bell would be leaving to take a larger role in the sports division.

Don Nash, a broadcast producer who has worked on NBC's morning show for 23 years, will become the executive producer, reporting to Alexandra Wallace, who has been named executive in charge of the show.

The reshuffling is part of NBC efforts to revive the "Today" show, which has been in a back-and-forth ratings war with ABC's "Good Morning America" ever since ABC snapped NBC's 16-year unbeaten streak earlier in the year.

"Today" is one of NBC's most profitable TV shows, generating $485 million in ad revenues in 2011, up 6.6 percent from 2010, according to Kantar Media, which provides data to advertisers. Rival "Good Morning America" took in $299 million last year.

NBC said on Tuesday that former executive producer Bell would be leaving the morning show to become a full-time executive producer of the Olympics. The network has a contract to broadcast the Olympics in the United States for the next four games in Russia, Brazil, South Korea and an unnamed host city in 2020.

Bell, who has headed the show since 2005, was blamed this year for the controversial firing of Ann Curry as anchor alongside Matt Lauer.

Reuters had previously reported in August that Bell was in line for a kind of uber-producing sports role like the one Dick Ebersol - NBC's longtime Olympics executive producer and former sports chief who served as a mentor to Bell - played for the network.

(Reporting By Liana B. Baker; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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