New NBC post for Wallace

Will exec produce 'Nightly News'

NBC News on Monday tapped Alexandra Wallace as executive producer of "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams."

Wallace was a senior vp in the news division, in charge of the newscast, special reports and other areas. She joins a small group of women who have been executive producers of the nightly news broadcast, and is the first woman in a decade.

She replaces John Reiss, who left the post Friday after a year and a half in the job.

The appointment comes at a time of turmoil for the nightly news broadcasts. After a decade on top of the ratings heap — through Williams and longtime anchor Tom Brokaw — NBC's traditional dominance has been challenged recently by ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson." Gibson's newscast is poised to win the February sweep, and won two of the past three weeks in viewership and the adults 25-54 demo.

But Wallace, who has overseen the newscast in her previous post, isn't too worried about the ratings news.

"We have a really, really good show," Wallace said. "I think it's a tough field. There are three good shows right now … but I'm not really not worried going forward. I think we put on the best show. I view it more as a hiccup than a long-term thing."

NBC News president Steve Capus agreed.

"I see nothing but a fantastic run ahead for Brian Williams and for Alex Wallace at the 'Nightly News,' " Capus said Monday. "This is a tough marketplace these days, and there's been a lot of change. It's inevitable that there will be some tight weeks and every once in a while there will be tough weeks that go against us, but season to date and year to date, we're still on top."

Wallace said she doesn't expect there will be any drastic changes in the newscast. Bob Epstein, the show's senior broadcast producer, will remain with the show.

Wallace was named senior vp in January 2006, receiving a promotion from executive producer of "Weekend Today" and senior producer of "Today" when she joined NBC in March 2005. Before that, Wallace had worked as a senior broadcast producer at CBS' "The Early Show" and producer for the "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather."

ABC has in the past had two female executive producers, Emily Rooney and Kathryn Christensen.

Capus said Monday that there's no word yet on a replacement for Wallace in the front office.

NBC News' Williams became the first broadcast news anchor to visit the war-torn country.

Williams left New York on Friday and arrived in Baghdad on Sunday for what will be at least several days in the country doing reporting not only for "NBC Nightly News" but also "Today" and other NBC and MSNBC properties. He first appeared in Baghdad for a brief appearance on Sunday's "Meet the Press."

The decision to send Williams to what has become an incredibly dangerous situation for a journalist was sparked by a conversation Williams had with NBC News president Steve Capus late last year. This is Williams' third trip to Iraq since the war began.
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