Former topper hired as advisor for NFL, Olympics

Dick Ebersol is returning to NBC.

The former sports topper who left the Peacock in May over a contract dispute has been rehired as a special adviser, working on the net’s “Sunday Night Football” program as well as the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

Ebersol will work alongside Jim Bell, who was named Tuesday as exec producer of those Games.

It’s unclear exactly what Ebersol’s role will be with NBC, but he brings decades of expertise to the production side of the telecasts. Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports Group, has a pedigree more steeped on the business side of television sports.

The two, like Ebersol and Bell, have a long history together.

“Dick’s experience and knowledge will be of great benefit to our product,” said Lazarus. “I look forward to continuing my 15-year relationship with him.”

Ebersol’s exit shocked the TV landscape when he suddenly ankled the network just prior to its bidding on television rights to the 2014-20 Olympics.

Many were surprised that NBC — long the broadcast home of the Olympics — won the rights considering his quick departure. Also, there was some speculation that new NBC owner Comcast didn’t want to the pay the enormous fee that it takes to win Olympics coverage. The Peacock ended up spending $4.3 billion on the four Games.

Bell is currently exec producer of NBC’s highly profitable ayem “Today” program. The transition to the London Olympics should be a smooth one: Prior to joining “Today” in 2005, he spent 16 years in the sports divisions, including eight Olympics Games.

Bell will continue his “Today” duties up until the Olympics, although he will be traveling to the U.K. often over the next 12 months in preparation for the Games.

“Today” will be telecast from London during the 2012 Olympics.

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