Jim Bell has been named executive producer of NBC Universal's coverage of the Olympics. The announcement came Tuesday from NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus, to whom Bell will report.
Bell, who led the network's record-breaking coverage of the London Games while still guiding Today, will have full editorial and creative control over Olympic coverage. He'll rejoin the Olympic Unit headed by Gary Zenkel. NBCUni has the rights to the 2016 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and last year paid $4.38 billion for four more Olympic Games.
"There is no doubt that Jim is the right person to be our Olympic production leader into the future,” said Lazarus in a statement. “His professionalism was unmatched in leading the London Olympics to record levels. Jim has worked with the best in the Olympic television world, and we’re excited to have him join us as the full-time executive producer.”
Added Zenkel, “It will be great to have Jim back full time as part of our incredibly talented and experienced production team.”
Bell began his career at NBC as a runner during the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona. A former All-Ivy League defensive lineman at Harvard, Bell spent much of that summer in Barcelona carrying former NBC executive Randy Falco around after Falco injured his Achilles tendon.
The official annuncement comes one day after news leaked that Bell would be stepping down as executive producer of NBC's Today amid ratings concerans at the formerly top-rated morning news franchise. NBC News executive Alexandra Wallace is expected to take over as executive producer of Today.