NBC on Monday officially named Brit news exec Deborah Turness as the first woman to run a network news division in the United States, ending weeks of speculation.
Turness has spent the past nine years heading ITV News, the UK’s most watched commercial network news service. She’s replacing Steve Capus, who resigned from NBC News in February, ending his eight-year run in the gig and more than two decades with NBC News.
Turness, who officially joins NBC News in August, will get to address the problems, ratings-wise and PR-wise, that plague the division’s “Today” show.
She’ll also get to tackle the dimishing lead of NBC’s Brian Williams-anchored newscast, which this season is enjoying its smallest margins in four years over ABC’s evening news — in both total viewers and among the 25- to 54-year-olds who are the currency of news programming ad sales.
In her spare time, Turness might turn her attention to NBC’s once-unstoppable Sunday Beltway show, which is now playing second fiddle to CBS’s Bob Schieffer-anchored program.
Turness will report to NBC Universal News Group chair Patricia Fili-Krushel, whose appointment to that job last summer — as part of NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke’s consolidation of the company’s various news interests — precipitated Capus’s resignation.