Jim Bell is executive producer of NBC News’ TODAY show, America’s top-rated morning news program. With more than 20 years of experience producing some of the highest-profile news and sports programming on television, Bell has created, managed and overseen original television content of every type and is a leader within NBC’s senior production ranks. In addition to guiding the TODAY show through some of its most challenging transitions and ambitious initiatives, he has been a critical part of NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games.
Bell, 44, joined TODAY in 2005 with responsibility for all aspects of the program. During his tenure, it has extended its dominance in the morning ratings race to 15 years and earned five Emmys, seven Edward R. Murrow Awards and nine Headliner Awards. Bell also won Emmys for his work on the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2002 Olympics and a Peabody for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.
TODAY news coverage overseen by Bell includes the 2008 presidential election, Hurricane Katrina, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the earthquake in Haiti. He led TODAY’s six-hour live broadcast of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Bell also oversaw the two of the most prominent and successful anchor shifts in morning television history when Meredith Vieira replaced Katie Couric and Vieira was succeeded by Ann Curry. He also launched the successful fourth hour of TODAY, pairing Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb as hosts.
Prior to joining TODAY, Bell was coordinating producer for NBC Olympics, leading the production hiring for the Olympics unit and supervising nearly 100 hours of afternoon and late-night programming on NBC during the 2004 Athens Summer Games.
Bell’s reputation as a groundbreaking, hands-on producer is well documented. He was responsible for the “Ends of the Earth” series that aired the first-ever live simultaneous broadcast from the Arctic, Antarctica and the equator. He was executive producer of Matt Lauer’s prime-time special “Decision Points: A Conversation with George W. Bush,” the former president’s first one-on-one television interview after leaving office. Early in his career, he developed NBC’s AFL in-game interviews, with game announcers interviewing coaches during live telecasts, a technique used throughout the industry today.
Bell’s career as a producer for NBC began in 1990 when he was hired to profile athletes for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. He worked each subsequent Summer Olympic Games for NBC, and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Over the following 14 years, he produced NBC broadcasts of the NFL, MLB, and the NBA, and won Emmys for the 1997 NBA Finals and Wimbledon tennis in 1998.