NBC's "Today" is replacing and promoting its director of 18 years amid what the show's executive producer calls "many changes" planned for the morning show.
As first reported by The New York Times, NBC News is giving Joe Michaels (pictured) the new title of "senior director" as "Today" tries to reclaim first place in the ratings from ABC's "Good Morning America" and recover from a year of internal turmoil that included the exit of Ann Curry.
The move also comes as former "Today" executive producer Jeff Zucker attempts to make over mornings on CNN with "New Day," a morning show that debuted Monday. The addition of the new show is only the latest change in the competitive early hours.
Michaels' new responsibilities will include leading the creation of a new set and graphics. His replacement as director has not yet been named. As director, he led the moment-to-moment oversight of the show, including choosing which cameras to cut to.
"Today" executive producer Don Nash said in an internal memo that "we are looking at every aspect of the show — tweaking where the show needs tweaking, overhauling where the show needs overhauling. Many changes have been implemented already, many more are in the works."
"The most critical projects need oversight from a strong, knowledgeable and experienced leader," he said, referring to Michaels' change to senior director.
The move is only the latest behind-the-scenes personnel shift at "Today": In the fall, Nash replaced Jim Bell as the head of the show. He reports to Alexandra Wallace, the executive in charge of the show.