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Monday, April 18, 2005

Tom Touchet Is Out at Today

That rare and special creature that has for the past two-and-a-half-years enchanted network news afficianados--the morning show executive producer whose last name rhymes with the morning show that he executive produces--is sadly moving along.

Tom Touchet, the executive producer of NBC's "Today," is getting canned, according to a well-placed source. Or being politely encouraged to embark on a new career as Jeff Zucker's poolboy. Can't remember which. An announcement is imminent.

It's no surprise--"Good Morning America" is nipping at "Today's" heels, which is not what you want happening when your show is the highest-grossing television program in the business. Today brings in more than a half a billion dollars a year for NBC, and TV group chief Zucker--who once had Touchet's (soon to be former) job, has long watched in horror as his once-dominant baby slowly succumbed to competition from Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson.

The replacement is said to be a "left-field candidate," which insiders have taken to mean "cross network strategy" guru Jeff Gaspin, who has no news background--scratch that, he used to run NBC's reality shows, so that counts as news, right?--or "Access Hollywood" executive producer Rob Silverstein. Or Holly Hunter, who, though she's a dark-horse candidate, has been given the edge by some observers since she once actually pretended to give a shit about news for a living.

UPDATE: I stand corrected--Jeff Gaspin does have some actual, non-reality-TV-related news experience working under Michael "The Match" Gartner. Also he developed "I Witness Video," which aside from just really being great television, advanced the cause of witty and subtle puns in TV shows by years--it's "I witness," but it's also "eyewitness," get it? Smart move to keep that one on your bio, Jeff.