Deborah Turness Out as NBC News President

By Don Irvine.


NBC News president Deborah Turness has been named the president of NBC News International, which is the network’s side of a new partnership with EuroNews, a pan-European satellite news service based in Lyon, France. Turness oversaw the firing of Meet the Press host David Gregory and the removal of Brian Williams as the Nightly News anchor after he was caught lying about being on a helicopter that was shot and forced down in Iraq.

Turness had been at NBC News since 2013, but her role was diminished after the Williams debacle. In 2015, the network brought back Andrew Lack to oversee both NBC News and MSNBC.

Turness will be replaced by Noel Oppenheim, the executive producer of the Today show.

Lack spun the move as a positive one for Turness in a memo to the staff. But the change occurred not long after the network was criticized for how it handled the departure of black anchor Tamron Hall, who was squeezed out after NBC signed former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly to a big contract. Lack signaled that he had tired of Turness’ management decisions:

“Deborah has been integral to this process—she’s been my partner for several months in assessing the opportunity and aligning our vision with Euronews.

Deborah joined NBC News three and a half years ago. In no small measure due to her leadership, all four of our broadcasts finished 2016 as number one in both of the key demos—for the first time since 2011.

She’s driven the news division on big scoops and exclusives and considerably upped our game on covering international news. Her commitment to ‘journalism with a capital J’ can be seen in the many prestigious awards NBC News has won in the last few years. She also led a massive overhaul of our systems and processes, just one of the many ways she has made us all better and brighter.”

With these changes, Lack now has a lieutenant of his own choosing—one who hopefully won’t cause NBC any further embarrassment.

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