Noah Oppenheim leaves NBC News in an executive shake-up

NBC News President Noah Oppenheim is leaving his role at the network in a major shake-up at the news division.

NBCUniversal announced Wednesday that Rebecca Blumenstein, who has been deputy managing editor for the New York Times since 2017, is joining the company in the new position of president of editorial for NBC News.

The company also elevated two of Oppenheim’s deputies. Janelle Rodriguez becomes executive vice president of NBC News Now, overseeing the fast-growing news streaming service. Libby Leist, the executive in charge of the “Today” morning franchise, is now executive vice president of “Today” and lifestyle for the division.

The three executives will report directly to NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde.

Oppenheim, who has been in the president’s job since February 2017, does not leave empty-handed. He has a deal to develop scripted long-form productions in partnership with NBCUniversal and will be based on the West Coast.

Oppenheim is a screenwriter whose credits include “Jackie,” which was awarded best screenplay at the 73rd Venice Film Festival. While at NBC News, he created a studio division that specializes in scripted content based on stories reported by the division.

Oppenheim let NBCUniveral management know last fall that he wanted to go back to pursuing his screenwriting career full-time, according to several people familiar with the discussions.

Oppenheim already has a limited series set up at Netflix, “Zero Day,” a political thriller that has Robert De Niro attached as its star.

Oppenheim is finishing his second stint at NBC News. He rejoined in 2015 as executive producer of “Today,” and two years later was tapped to replace Deborah Turness as president.

Oppenheim guided NBC News through a major scandal during his term, as popular “Today” co-anchor Matt Lauer was fired over allegations of sexual assault and harassment, including an accusation from a former staffer who said he raped her while on assignment covering the Olympics in 2014 (Lauer denied the allegation).

Oppenheim also took the brunt of journalist Ronan Farrow’s accusations that NBC News refused to air his reporting on disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Farrow accused the network’s news division of a coordinated effort to shut down his reporting in order to protect Lauer. Oppenheim described it as a “conspiracy theory.”

Oppenheim was rumored to be on the hot seat over the controversies. But his strong relationship with on-air talent at the network and continued ratings success for the division’s programs helped keep him in place.

He also oversaw the launch of NBC News Now, the free 24-hour streaming news service, and the launch of All Day Today, a streaming site that uses content from the morning program.

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