Libby Leist will be taking on the first two hours of NBC's Today after Don Nash announced his departure.
While other women have supervised NBC’s morning franchise, no female staffer has run the show’s first two hours. The first two hours of Today are said to bring in around $500 million in advertising revenue each year, according to Variety.
Before taking over Nash's responsibilites, Leist was senior producer of the 7 a.m. hour of Today for the last five years.
Even though it has lost viewers in recent years, Today has long trumped its main rival, ABC’s Good Morning America, among viewers between 25 and 54 – the demographic most coveted by advertisers, and has also captured the most viewers overall in each of the past seven weeks. Keeping that edge over its competitor is an important task for her to take on.
The show is also finding its way after the Matt Lauer scandal, a co-anchor who had been with the show for more than two decades but was ousted after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced.
Leist’s new role of watching over Guthrie and co-anchor Hoda Kotb, means the NBC morning program, which typically appeals to more women that it does men, has women in three of its most important roles.