Savannah Guthrie allegedly made a high-level decision that “shocked” insiders and puzzled staff at Today. When Matt Lauer was fired, he wasn’t the only one axed from his job. Apparently, Guthrie didn’t want Lauer’s pal and executive producer, Don Nash, around after he left. A new report claims Savannah called her own shots immediately following Lauer’s exit.
According to Page Six, a source reveals Savannah Guthrie had Nash “pushed out” and replaced with her friend and veteran senior producer, Libby Leist. The “power grab” stunned those at the studio to learn that one of NBC’s longtime executives was out. Nash started as an NBC page and remained at the network for 30 years. He found himself replaced by Leist after all this time, the source explains.
“Libby is Savannah’s best friend, and Savannah pushed Don out to put Libby there. It is a power grab by Savannah to make sure she gets the best assignments and has someone at the top looking out for her,” the insider said.
Page Six’s source continued that “this isn’t an issue with Hoda Kotb” because she’s “just happy to be there.” The issue falls with some members of the staff, who figured once Lauer was no longer present, the “era of anchors with out-sized power calling the shots was over.”
A second source tells the site that “some staffers were puzzled” because they thought the job Leist fell into would be assigned to co-executive producer Tom Mazzarelli. The insider says Savannah is close with Libby and that they even workout together and are “old D.C. allies.”
— Page Six (@PageSix) February 1, 2018
The report notes that Leist was with the 7 a.m. hour of Today for five years.
Another source clarifies that it’s not unusual to change executive producers following an anchor change. When Lester Holt moved into the anchor position at Nightly News and Chuck Todd started at Meet the Press, executive producers changed.
Leist is prepared for the role since she’s served an array of senior-producing positions for the network, the source says.
A Today source denies claims about Savannah Guthrie making a “power grab” because she’s her best friend.
“Libby is an incredibly accomplished and talented producer. For anyone to suggest that NBC would entrust her with the reins of its morning show that brings in over half a billion dollars a year because she’s ‘besties’ with the anchor makes zero sense and smacks of sexism,” the insider states.
A similar report by Radar Online came out with a source claiming Savannah is a “diva” and is running everything at the studio. It’s claimed that even Lester Holt is “scared of her.” The article maintains that Guthrie “knows” she’s all the network has right now since Lauer left.
Us Weekly published a report last week denying any reports that there’s friction among the Today cast. Savannah Guthrie has a great relationship with Hoda, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Megyn Kelly, according to the report.