NBC News announced Wednesday that Libby Leist will succeed Don Nash as executive producer at the 'Today' show, making her the first woman to lead the program's 7am and 8am hours.
The move follows the November 2017 firing of former 'Today' co-host Matt Lauer and appointment in January of Hoda Kotb to replace Lauer, joining Savannah Guthrie at the anchor desk.
“The TODAY show couldn’t be in a stronger position. Savannah and Hoda have seamlessly taken their seats and we’re off to a fantastic start in 2018,” Lack wrote to staff. “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.”
“Libby has spent her career at NBC News, starting as a desk assistant in DC in 2001, and later rising to become Andrea Mitchell’s State Department producer — a role for which she traveled the world — and then several senior producer roles in the bureau, including MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown and Capitol Hill producer,” Lack wrote.
Leist is also very close to Savannah Guthrie and led 'Today' coverage of candidate town halls in 2016 and a 2016 broadcast from 'The White House' in the Obama Administration. "Today' never replaced Natalie Morales, when she left in 2016 -- preferring to have the anchors handling solid news stories. With the avalanche of Democratic women running for office in 2018, bringing in an executive produce with a political background makes sense.