NBC Seeks to Reverse ‘Tonight Show” Downward Ratings Drift


NBC Olympics chief Jim Bell named executive in charge of  ‘Tonight’


Jim Bell, currently NBC Olympics’ president of production and programming, has been named producer of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” (Heidi Gutman / NBCUniversal)

Veteran producer Jim Bell, currently the executive in charge of Olympics coverage for NBC, will take on the top producing role at “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” the network announced Wednesday.

Bell will have the title of executive in charge for the late-night franchise, which has been running behind CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in the ratings in the last year.

Bell, 51, has been president of production and programming for NBC Olympics since January 2017, a role that has put him in charge of all of the network’s editorial content related to the Olympic Games. Before rejoining NBC Sports in 2012, he spent seven years as executive producer of NBC’s early morning news franchise “Today.”

Bell, a Harvard University graduate, has worked on 12 Olympics, every one since the 1992 Barcelona Games with NBC and the last four as executive producer.

Bell’s experience in news and live TV production is among the factors driving the decision to put him in charge of “Tonight.” With Fallon as host, the program has fallen to second place in viewership and has failed to generate the kind of topical sizzle that Colbert has produced since the election of President Trump in 2016.


  1. Jimmy Fallon seems like a very nice guy, however, he is a terrible interviewer. It doesn’t surprise me that his ratings are sinking.

    I’d like to see Conan O’Brien get another shot at hosting the Tonight Show.


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