×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBC News Negotiating Severance for ‘Today’ Producer Accused of Sexual Harassment (EXCLUSIVE)

NBC News employees are upset that a disgraced producer is being offered a severance after being fired for sexual harassment earlier this week, Variety has learned.

On Tuesday, NBC announced that it was axing Matt Zimmerman, senior vice president of booking in the company’s news division, after an internal investigation into allegations about his behavior with staff. “We have recently learned that Matt Zimmerman engaged in inappropriate conduct with more than one woman at NBCU, which violated company policy,” read a statement. “As a result, he has been dismissed.”

Employees are wondering why NBC is in discussions with Zimmerman about offering him an exit package when he was fired for cause. The terms are still being negotiated. “It sends the wrong message,” says a source with knowledge of staff morale.

NBC declined to comment. Zimmerman couldn’t be reached for comment.

Zimmerman came to NBC out of college in 2004. He was eventually named Matt Lauer’s booker, and he was favored by the “Today” co-host. In 2014, Lauer made the decision to create a new position for Zimmerman, where he managed all big gets for all of NBC’s new shows, with considerable clout and resources.

According to multiple sources, Zimmerman pushed out some of the staffers who were male and more senior, replacing them with young women. Over time, these sources say, he pursued more than one relationship with women on his team. He sent inappropriate text messages late at night, which were discovered in the HR probe.

After the investigation concluded, executives met to decide Zimmerman’s fate. NBC News president Noah Oppenheim was supportive of letting him go, and a decision was made quickly, sources say.

Today” later held an all-staff meeting to discuss Zimmerman’s firing, and to reassure employees that there would be no retaliation.

NBC News has taken heat for not running an investigation into Harvey Weinstein that was being worked on by correspondent Ronan Farrow. Instead, Farrow took his story to the New Yorker. His bombshell reporting, which details how the movie mogul sexually assaulted and harassed dozens of women, has led to a national dialogue about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Meanwhile, Megyn Kelly, on the third hour of “Today,” has frequently and aggressively covered this topic. “The abuse of women, the shaming of them, the threatening, the retaliation, the silencing of them after the fact — it has to stop,” Kelly said last month about the firing of her former colleague Bill O’Reilly on Fox News.

More TV

  • Shows we Quit in 2018 Westworld

    TV Shows We Quit in 2018

    With approximately 500 scripted series premiering new seasons in 2018, sometimes it feels like the television landscape is like a bubble. If it keeps getting inflated larger and larger, eventually something will have to give and it will pop, right? Well, maybe not for the platforms on which these shows are released — after all, [...]

  • Maniac

    Emma Stone, Darren Criss and More React to SAG Award Nominations

    The nominations for the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were revealed on Wednesday morning, and “A Star Is Born” commanded the list with four noms alongside TV series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Ozark.” The awards recognize acting and ensemble performances across television and film, and this year, plenty of performers will be competing [...]

  • Golden Globes TV Predictions

    Golden Globes 2019: TV Categories Broken Down With Projected Winners

    Big name nominees dominate an increasingly competitive small screen landscape, and Variety analyzes what to expect when winners’ names are read at the Golden Globes Jan. 6. Drama Series In complete contrast to last year, all but one of the nominees in this category are newcomers. Up for its sixth and final season, FX’s Soviet [...]

  • Maniac

    How the HFPA Played It Safe With 2019 Golden Globe Nominees (Column)

    At a time of unprecedented richness and depth across TV programming, an awards show already known for its brazen willingness to follow its own instincts could have gone just about anywhere. But the biggest surprise of the Golden Globes’ nominations for television may have been just how safe they were. To wit: A broadcast that [...]

  • Joel McHale Cast as Starman in

    Joel McHale Cast as Starman in DC Universe's 'Stargirl' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joel McHale has been cast as Sylvester Pemberton aka Starman on the upcoming DC Universe series “Stargirl,” Variety has learned exclusively. The role is being described as “Golden Age Starman” and will be a recurring one for McHale. A courageous and confident superhero, Starman is a member of the Justice Society of America. He wields a [...]

  • If Beale Street Could Talk Sharp

    Golden Globes: Amy Adams, Regina King Lead List of Crossover Nominees

    In the age of peak TV, actors, writers, directors and producers, and subsequently their managers and agents, are open for business in any medium, and that new attitude shows in awards nominations, especially when it comes to the Golden Globe acting fields. Amy Adams and Regina King scored nominations in both film and TV categories [...]

  • 2019 Variety Predictions

    2019 Predictions: What's in Store for Film, TV and Music Next Year?

    It would be hard to top the drama of 2018. From media mega-mergers to the rise of Time’s Up, it was a year that had more than its fair share of twists and turns. Leslie Moonves resigned in disgrace, AT&T snapped up Time Warner, Disney inched closer to subsuming Fox and “Black Panther” shattered box [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content