Former 'News' producer may fill exec job

John Reiss, former exec producer of NBC’s “Nightly News,” is in talks to become exec producer of MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews,” as well as serve as the cabler’s political director.

Reiss, who was ousted last spring after conflicts with “Nightly” anchor Brian Williams, remains under contract with the Peacock and is negotiating an extension that would have him in place through the 2008 political cycle and beyond.

Reiss, who lives in New York City, would commute to D.C., where “Hardball” is based. Sources close to the show say host Matthews has pushed for the hiring of Reiss, who won two Emmys this year for his work at “Nightly News”: news story for Ann Curry’s coverage in Darfur, Sudan, and breaking news story for the net’s coverage of Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah.

If a deal is reached, Reiss would assume the roles once held by Tammy Haddad, who gave up the title of exec producer of “Hardball” to focus on political coverage, including the web’s “Super Tuesday” political events.

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