Although Matt Lauer was fired in late November because of sexual misconduct in the workplace, there are bigger changes being implement at Today this week. Now, NBC has reported that Don Nash, a Lauer “ally” has been replaced, despite the Today show beating out ABC’s rival show, Good Morning America, for seven weeks straight since the big Lauer upheaval. What are the changes at Today and why were these changes allegedly made?
According to the New York Times, Today executive producer, Don Nash will soon be succeeded by Libby Leist. This is a monumental move forward for women in produer roles at NBC News. Leist is the woman who will hold the executive producer role for the first two hours of Today.
Leist, who has a “strong working relationship with Savannah Guthrie,” also boasts “deep ties” to Washington.
Nash, who was the executive producer of Today since 2012, when Ann Curry was co-anchoring with Matt Lauer, has decided to “spend more time with his family.” He has been with NBC News for 23 years.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack explained why they decided to make such a dramatic change, especially as Today is at the top.
“With this change in anchors, and having rethought some of his priorities, Don Nash has decided to step away from his Executive Producer role at Today.”
Yet, one source says that this is not the accurate story. According to a Page Six source Don Nash was replaced because he was part of Lauer’s inner circle. The source alleges that although Nash and others claim that they did not cover for the former anchor of Today, they appeared to be complicit in the events that led to Lauer’s eventual firing.
“Don is one of the nicest guys in the business, but he was part of ‘Matt’s club’ headed by [former Today EP] Jim Bell. They deny covering up for Matt, but they certainly catered to him, and they are very much entrenched in Lauer’s legacy.”
Nash has vehemently denied to Page Six that there was never any sort of misconduct. He has claimed that “never once has a woman or man complained to me about Lauer.” Nash insists that he would have gone straight to Human Resources should anyone have breathed any claims.
Nash may just be the man out because of his association with Lauer, not because of any wrong doing. As many comedians will joke, claiming that you are leaving your job to “spend more time with family” is usually the code for someone who didn’t plan on leaving their job.
The other Lauer “ally” that may see her work on Today reduced or even end is Giada de Laurentiis. The Food Network star who has recently been absent from the morning show is reportedly on the outs because she is also a Lauer pal.
A source told them that NBC is ready to go in a different direction, away from those experts associated with Matt Lauer.
“Matt always had the final say on show experts, but now they want new blood. They want more diversity.”
From de Laurentiis’ camp, they deny any sort of ending of the relationship between Today and Giada.
“Giada will still be making her appearances on Today and we are currently working on her schedule to confirm.”
There have been rumors over the years about a relationship between Giada and Lauer. According to Page Six, she has been linked to Matt Lauer on two occasions. The first in 2011, when the two were seen on a beach in Barbados, and then in 2013, when the two were seen at a “cozy” dinner for two in New York City. De Laurentiis has previously denied any sort of affair with the former Today host.