British TV Exec Deborah Turness to Take Reins at NBC News

'Today' woes could present first test in new role

Deborah Turness

NBC News confirmed Monday that former British TV-news executive Deborah Turness will be the unit’s new president, capping several weeks of speculation over who would replace Steve Capus in the role. Turness will be the first woman to lead a U.S. broadcast-network news operation.

She will report to Pat Fili-Krushel, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group and will work alongside CNBC prexy Mark Hoffman and MSNBC prexy Phil Griffin. She starts her new job, based in New York, August 5.

Turness will be responsible for all aspects of the NBCUniversal division including “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams,” “Today,” “Meet the Press,” and “Dateline” as well as its news bureaus around the world. She will also oversee all breaking news, investigative and enterprise reporting, along with the division’s digital properties, which include NBCNews.com. Turness will also supervise Peacock Prods., an in-house production company.

Her immediate concern may be in trying to restore “Today” to the top rank in the morning-show wars, where ABC’s “Good Morning America” has surpassed it in the ratings. Turness has experience in the ayem arena. She was editor of the British morning program “Rise” on Channel 4.

Turness has been editor of the ITN-produced ITV News since 2004, where she has supervised all national news coverage and business operations for the network, ITV News London and the critically acclaimed website and livestream. She has also served as executive producer on ITV’s weekly current affairs show “The Tonight Programme,” as well as numerous documentaries, live specials, U.K. and U.S. election night coverage and all live Royal event programming.

(Steve Clarke in London contributed to this report).