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Don Nash is stepping down as executive producer of NBC’s ‘Today’

Savannah Guthrie, left, Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb on the set of NBC's "Today" in October.
(NBCUniversal)

“Today” show executive producer Don Nash is leaving the NBC morning program after a 30-year run.

Nash will be succeeded by Libby Leist, who has served as a senior producer on the program. Leist has a strong relationship with co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, who became the senior member of the 7-to-9 a.m. team after the ouster of Matt Lauer.

In a memo to his staff Wednesday, Nash said he was stepping away from “Today” to spend more time with his family. He began his career at NBC as a page in the Burbank bureau of “Today.” He became a producer in 1999 and moved up the ranks to executive producer in 2012.

Nash is being offered a new role within NBCUniversal, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said in a note to staff. “We hope he’ll stay in the family,” Lack said.

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Nash has long been the talent whisperer at “Today” and the main traffic cop in the control room during the morning program. He long had the strong support of Lauer, who was ousted by the network in November 2017 after a female employee filed a complaint alleging that he engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.

Nash’s move is not related to the network’s internal review of how NBC News handled the complaint against Lauer, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment publicly.

But Lauer’s departure created the opportunity for NBC News to make the change, according to another network executive familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. TV network news divisions typically change producers on a program after a major anchor transition.

Lauer has been replaced by Hoda Kotb, who joined Guthrie for the 7 -to-9 a.m. hours of “Today” to create the first all-female anchor team in the program’s 66-year history.

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Leist is a veteran of the Washington bureau of NBC News and brings more hard news experience to her “Today” role at a time when the machinations of the Trump White House are a dominant story.

Meanwhile, in her first TV interview since leaving NBC, former “Today” show anchor Ann Curry said Wednesday that she was “not surprised” about the misconduct allegations that resulted in Lauer being fired.

“I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed,” she told “CBS This Morning” about the work environment at “Today.” “I think it would be surprising if someone said they didn’t see that.”

When asked by “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Norah O’Donnell if verbal sexual harassment was pervasive at NBC, Curry replied: “It was. Yes. Period.”

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Lauer and Curry were co-anchors on “Today” in 2011 and 2012. Curry made a tearful exit from the program in June 2012 after she was removed from her co-anchor role.

Management cited a ratings decline they blamed on Curry’s lack of an on-air chemistry with Lauer. But after Curry left, many viewers blamed Lauer for her ouster.

Curry did not comment on whether she believed Lauer was responsible for the morning-team breakup.

“I don’t know what was all behind it,” Curry said Wednesday. “I do know it hurt like hell. It wasn’t a fun moment. I learned a great deal about myself. I’ve just let it go. It’s been years, and I want to sort of move on from that.”

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Curry — who is returning to television with a new PBS series, “We’ll Meet Again” — had not spoken publicly about her split with NBC’s morning family since it happened. She left NBC News in 2015.

An NBC News spokesperson had no comment on Curry’s remarks.

Curry, 61, told “CBS This Morning” she has been subjected to sexual harassment throughout her career.

“It’s happened to me in multiple jobs, and it is a way of sidelining women,” Curry said.

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stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


UPDATES:

1:25 p.m.: This article has been updated with information on the new “Today” executive producer Libby Leist.

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This article was originally published at 8:40 a.m.


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