NBC Said Close to Hiring Turness as First Woman News Chief

Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg

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NBC Universal signage in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg

NBC Universal signage in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC is close to naming Deborah Turness, the head of Britain’s ITV News, as president of its news division, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

An agreement hasn’t been reached yet, according to one person, who sought anonymity because the talks are private. Turness would replace Steve Capus, who departed in February after NBC’s “Today” show fell behind ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the 25-to-54-year-old audience demographic after a 16-year run in first place.

Turness is poised to become the first woman to lead NBC News. She would report to Patricia Fili-Krushel, chairman of the NBC Universal News Group, and would help oversee programs including “Today” and “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams.” Fili-Krushel was hired last year as part of a reorganization to improve collaboration between NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC and the Weather Channel.

Turness has been the editor of ITV Plc (ITV)’s ITV News since 2004, according to that company’s website. She didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment after normal business hours in London. ITV News competes with BBC News in the U.K.

The “NBC Nightly News” is the most watched of the three evening broadcast news shows in the U.S., averaging 8.75 million viewers a day in the current season, according to Nielsen data.

The New York Times earlier today reported Turness was close to being hired.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, rose 0.3 percent to $43.08 at the close in New York. The company, operator of the largest U.S. cable TV service, has increased 15 percent this year, equaling the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s gain. ITV rose 2 percent to 130.60 pence in London and has gained 24 percent this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net; Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net; Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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