Don Nash, the executive producer of NBC’s Today Show for the past five years, is stepping down to spend more time with his family. At least that’s what the official word inside NBC News is claiming is the reason. CNN suggests people inside NBC aren’t buying it:
According to internal memos from Nash and NBC News chair Andy Lack, Nash decided he wants more time with his children. But this explanation was met with skepticism inside and outside NBC, given the network’s firing of “Today” co-host Matt Lauer last November.
Several staffers — who spoke on condition of anonymity — have concluded that Nash was forced out. One of them described him as the “fall guy” in the Lauer scandal.
The two men had a close relationship for decades. However, there is no indication that Nash knew about Lauer’s alleged wrongdoing. Inside NBC, there is an ongoing investigation into the Lauer matter.
As Ed pointed out earlier today, Ann Curry’s interview on CBS This Morning should settle the question of whether or not people working with and around Matt Lauer were aware of what he was doing. “I can say that I would be surprised if…many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment — that existed,” Curry said. She added, “I think it’d be surprising if someone said that they didn’t see that.”
Curry may have been talking, indirectly, about Lauer’s best-known co-host, Katie Couric, who spent weeks refusing to comment on the situation and finally gave a statement to People magazine last week saying, “I had no idea this was going on during my tenure or after I left.” As I pointed out, that’s pretty hard to believe when Lauer was caught on tape telling co-host Meredith Viera to keep bending over so he could look down her sweater. I’ve posted this clip twice before but I’ll ask again. If a guy is talking like this on camera in the midst of work, is it likely a) this was the only time or b) people working with him were unaware of this behavior? I think the answer is obvious.
The LA Times reports that Nash is being offered a different position within the company:
Nash will be succeeded by Libby Leist, who has served as a senior producer on the program.
Nash is being offered a new role within NBCUniversal, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said in a memo to staff. “We hope he’ll stay in the family,” Lack said.
It’s just not credible that Couric or executive producer Nash had no idea what was going on with Matt Lauer. That said, he may still be a “fall guy” in the sense that higher-ups at the network probably also knew what was going on, but they aren’t going to take the fall. So Andrew Lack keeps his job and Don Nash gets shuffled into another position so long as he keeps quiet about what everyone knew.