NBC negotiated Horowitz away from ESPN in September with the idea that he'd help boost the Today show's ratings. Although NBC News president Deborah Turness described Horowitz's quick departure as a mutual decision, the New York Times and Page Six both say things had been getting ugly behind the scenes.
Earlier this month, Page Six ran a story about a growing tension between Today co-hosts Natalie Morales and Tamron Hall, claiming Morales has been quietly planning her exit from the show. Horowitz was blamed for both the personnel issues and the Page Six item. According to the New York Times:
But some NBC insiders suspected that Mr. Horowitz was behind the accounts of conflict, especially because the stories included speculation that Mr. Horowitz was already in line to succeed Ms. Turness, routinely described as embattled, despite the fact that he had barely started at NBC and had no experience as a news journalist.
An NBC source said, "There was a lot of insecurity and instability created when he walked in the door. He would pit anchors against anchors and producers against producers and it created a lot of internal problems. He would ask the staff who they wanted to be their seniors and who were the weakest links in the organization. While a fresh eye was welcomed to help beat 'GMA,' everybody felt their jobs were on the line. Jamie is a smart guy, but this approach didn't work on such a big, tight-knit show. The show has been through a very tough time in the last few weeks."
The saddest part is Horowitz was fired before his job even officially began—his official start date, negotiated as part of the terms to poach him from his ESPN contract, was December 1. Even so, he'll probably still be paid the $3 million on his contract from NBC, a fair price indeed for two months of off-the-books work.
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