The NBC Sports Group said Molly Solomon has been named executive producer and president of NBC Olympics Production as well as executive producer of the Golf Channel.
The Olympics role had long been filled by Jim Bell, who left NBC earlier this month after a nearly three-decade run at the company. He had worked at the Tonight Show during his last year at the company, but his tenure was known chiefly for his work on the Olympics.
Solomon, who has worked 10 Olympics for NBC Sports and was co-ordinating producer of the 2012 opening ceremony and prime-time show in London, will report to NBC Sports Group President Pete Bevacqua.
“As a broadcast partner at the PGA of America, and now as a colleague at NBC Sports, I've had a front-row seat watching Molly skillfully and creatively lead a tremendous GOLF Channel production team,” Bevacqua said. “We are excited to put oversight of our Olympic presentation into her exceptionally-qualified hands, and are especially proud to see a long-time and well-liked member of our NBC team return to her roots.”
Solomon called the Olympics opportunity an “immensely rewarding” one. “Growing up at NBC Sports, I've been so fortunate to work with the gifted Olympics storytellers, and then to combine it with my other sports love — golf — with the incredible, dedicated team at Golf Channel, who have such a love and commitment to the game,” she said. “I've had a great sports life. I can't wait to dig in and work more broadly on the Tokyo Olympics, which will be the biggest media event in the world.”
Solomon, who begins her new role immediately, returns to work with the NBC Olympics team, where she previously held a succession of positions beginning in 1990 as a researcher. The last time she was in Tokyo was in 1991, as a researcher for NBC Sports' coverage of the World Track and Field Championships.
Over the course of her 10 Olympic Games, she also served as a feature producer and associate director, was named coordinating producer of NBC's Olympic cable coverage beginning with the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. From 2006 to 2012, Solomon was coordinating producer of NBC Olympics, and produced figure skating at the 2010 Vancouver Games, as well as the Opening Ceremony and primetime show for the 2012 London Games.
On news broadcasts and cable news channels, the company will reduce commercial loads to allow for more programming. On the entertainment front, late night shows as well as unscripted series on Bravo, E! and USA, will all feature extended episodes and bonus content in lieu of some commercial pods.
NBCUniversal will reduce advertising loads across its networks and add more entertainment and news content as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, and as families quarantine at home.
“Now, people all across America are turning to us more for the content that comforts them and connects them to the outside world,” writes NBCUniversal ad sales and partnerships chairman Linda Yaccarino in a blog post Monday afternoon. “At the same time, some marketers across every industry have asked to pause their advertising plans or shift their messages, and they're looking for ideas, tools, and strategies from their most trusted partners. So, in light of everything we're seeing and hearing, we want to do what's right for our audiences and marketers.”
On the broadcast news shows and the company's cable news channels MSNBC and CNBC, the company will reduce commercial loads to allow for more news and information programming.
On the entertainment front, late night shows The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen now originating from the hosts' homes, as well as unscripted series on Bravo, E! and USA, will all feature extended episodes and bonus content in lieu of some commercial pods.
Some of the company's channels will also launch family movie nights, with sponsored but commercial-free airings of films.
Late last month the advertising research firm Magna Global predicted that the U.S. TV ad market would fall by 13 percent in 2020 due to the fallout from the pandemic, calling the situation “totally unprecedented.” The travel, restaurant and movie sectors in particular have pulled back ad spend.
In addition, NBCUniversal finds itself in the position of having to fill many hours of programming that had been set aside for coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have since been postponed until 2021.
Yaccarino also writes that the company will be engaging in outreach to companies and waiving fees “to allow companies to reach their customers directly in their homes and generate much-needed sales.” That will include access to remote production teams, brand assets, talent, translation services, and editing services, which can all be used to create new campaigns even as most people are staying home.
The company also released new research on Monday outlining the increased media consumption during the last few weeks. The research found that digital and linear TV viewing is up, gaming is up significantly, and that streaming services are seeing subscription gains, while...