Former Harvard Defensive Lineman Now Running NBC’s Olympic Coverage is dedicated to highlighting the achievements of all the current and former Ivy Leaguers who are competing or coaching in the 2012 Summer Games. But the League’s presence in London does not stop on the court, or the field or in/on the water. In fact, what American fans watch online and on TV is being orchestrated by none other than a former Ivy student-athlete.

Jim Bell has served as executive producer of NBC’s The Today Show for the past seven years. He knows the course of the broadcast will be dictated by the action in the Games. But the former Crimson defensive tackle is up to the task.

As a member of Harvard’s defensive line from 1986-88, Bell was part of the Crimson’s Ivy League champion squad in 1987. He culminated his collegiate career with a first-team All-Ivy selection in 1988, along with fellow defensive lineman Don Peterson. Bell started at NBC soon thereafter when he was hired in 1990 to profile athletes for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He has worked each Summer Games since, as well as the 2002 Winter Olympics.

In 2005, Bell joined The Today Show, and has helped the program earn five Emmys, seven Edward R. Murrow Awards and nine Headliner Awards. Bell himself won Emmys for his work on the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2002 Olympics and a Peabody for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. Bell also earned Emmys for the 1997 NBA Finals and Wimbledon tennis in 1998.

Bell took over as producer of NBC’s Olympic coverage from his mentor, Dick Ebersol (Yale ’71), who resigned as NBC Sports chairman in May but then returned to the sports division as a senior advisor to Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports Group. Ebersol will continue to assist with NBC’s Olympic Coverage, which means that NBC’s Olympic coverage will be under the direction of not one, but two Ivy League graduates.

Read more about Bell:
NY Times: With Ebersol Gone, NBC Passes Broadcast Baton to ‘Today’ Producer

ShermanReport: Meet Jim Bell, NBC’s Executive Producer For Olympics

Baltimore Sun: Established Storytelling, New-media Outlets for Olympics and NBC

Journal Sentinel: NBC-TV’s London Olympics has a new Orchestra Leader


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