Don’t bother Willie Geist on Saturdays. Starting in April, that will be the one day of the week he will have off.
Geist will take on a new role as the anchor of the Sunday version of “Today” on NBC, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The move appears to be aimed at making the Sunday broadcast dovetail more readily with another NBC News weekend stalwart: “Meet the Press.”
The New York Post was first to report the move. NBC has yet to announce the shift. Geist is expected to continue his other roles during the 9 a.m. broadcast of “Today” during the week and on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The Post report cited an executive who billed the revamped Sunday broadcast as being more “thoughtful and reflective,” something that would cover politics, popular culture and social trends, and give Geist a chance to present things in his own voice. Geist is the author of a handful of humor books and got his start as a producer for a now-defunct sports-news channel that was a joint venture of CNN and Sports Illustrated under Time Warner.
It is not outlandish to imagine the new Geist-led “Today” might compete with “CBS Sunday Morning.” That program, revered under hosts like Charles Kuralt and Charles Osgood, serves as a weekend newsmagazine, and offers in-depth reports on American life and culture. It may also be going through a transition. Osgood and CBS have held talks regarding a potential transition of hosting duties for that program, and Jane Pauley has been mentioned as a candidate who might take over as anchor.
The move could also have some implications for Geist’s personal life. His father, Bill Geist, appears regularly on “CBS Sunday Morning” as a correspondent. The older Geist is a former newspaper columnist and essay writer.
Erica Hill, Sheinelle Jones and Dylan Dreyer, who currently anchor “Today” on weekends, are expected to continue to hold forth on the Saturday program, the Post said, which is likely to continue as is.