Jim Bell was named Executive Producer of NBC Olympics in November 2012. For the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Bell and his team oversee the editorial production of 2,084 hours of Olympic linear programming across 11 networks. As Rio is just one hour ahead of the Eastern Time zone, this will be the most live Olympics ever. Rio is the 11th Olympics with NBC for Bell, who reports to NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus.
Bell has worked on every Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games with NBC Sports (1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2012 and 2014) or NBC News (2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012). Bell is in his second stretch with NBC Sports, as he rejoined NBC Sports Group full-time following seven years (2005-12) as Executive Producer of TODAY. He served as both executive producer of TODAY and the London Olympics in 2012, which is the most-watched television event in U.S. history with more than 217 million viewers.
During his TODAY tenure, the show extended its dominance in the morning ratings race to 16 years, earned seven Emmys, seven Edward R. Murrow Awards and nine Headliner Awards. Bell also won Emmys for his work on the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2012 Olympics and a Peabody for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.
TODAY news coverage overseen by Bell included the 2008 Presidential Election, Hurricane Katrina, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the earthquake in Haiti. He led TODAY’s six-hour live broadcast of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Prior to joining TODAY, Bell was coordinating producer for NBC Olympics, leading the production hiring for the Olympics unit and supervising nearly 100 hours of afternoon and late night programming on NBC during the 2004 Athens Summer Games.
Bell’s reputation as a ground-breaking, hands-on producer is well documented. He was responsible for the “Ends of the Earth” series that aired the first-ever live simultaneous broadcast from the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Equator. He was the executive producer of Matt Lauer’s primetime special “Decision Points: A Conversation with George W. Bush,” the President’s first one-on-one television interview after leaving office. Early in his career, he developed NBC’s AFL in-game interviews, with game announcers interviewing coaches during live telecasts, a technique used throughout the industry today.
Bell’s career as a producer for NBC began in 1990 when he was hired to profile athletes for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. He worked each subsequent Summer Olympic Games for NBC, and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Over the following 14 years, he produced NBC broadcasts of the NFL, MLB, and the NBA, and won Emmys for the 1997 NBA Finals and Wimbledon tennis in 1998.
Bell graduated cum laude from Harvard with a B.A. in government in 1989. He was an All-Ivy defensive tackle and a member of the school’s Ivy League Championship team in 1987. He resides in Greenwich, Conn., with his wife, Angelique, and their four sons.