If announced, Turness, who has run Britain's ITV News since 2004, would become the first female president of a U.S. news network. Former NBC News president Steve Capus stepped down from his role earlier this year amidst rocky times at the news network's cash cow, the "Today" show.
Last month, the Los Angeles Times' Joe Flint reported that NBC News was looking across the pond for its new chief and wrote, "People close to the search said NBC News Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel is intrigued by Turness." When Comcast took over NBC Universal, it restructured the network's news properties by grouping NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC into one entity called NBCUniversal News Group, overseen by Fili-Krushel. If announced as NBC News president, Turness would report to Fili-Krushel, the first female chairman of a U.S. news network.
Turness would take over NBC News at a somewhat precarious time. With declining ratings at the "Today" show, the network has fallen behind ABC rival "Good Morning America." The network's newsmagazine "Rock Center with Brian Williams" has been unable to find a steady audience, due in part to multiple scheduling changes. In March, the Los Angeles Times interviewed Fili-Krushel on the search for a new president. She stressed the need for new energy and innovation in the news division.
Turness is well known in the UK media world for her risk-taking and her unabashedly bold style, which was on full display when she dressed up as Lady Gaga at a UK TV industry event three years ago.
"When you are No. 1, it's easy to stop taking chances. I think we just stopped innovating," Fili-Krushel said of the "Today" show in an interview with the Los Angeles TImes' Joe Flint.