This past Monday Dick Ebersol jovially tossed mini footballs to agency execs in the New York Hilton ballroom for the first upfront since Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) took over NBCUniversal. Today he’s out after contract negotiations failed, according to various reports we have confirmed with a person close to the situation. We’ve also confirmed, as Richard Sandomir first reported, that his successor will be Mark Lazarus, the Turner Sports vet who consulted with Comcast during the process and was brought on by NBCU CEO Steve Burke as president of NBC Sports Cable Group when the merger went through.
Update: The announcement is out
expected shortly and it’s official, complete with appropriate corporate gushing over Ebersol’s legendary career.
Some people hedge against inflation. By hiring Lazarus and bringing him to work for Ebersol managing the combined cable properties, Burke ensured he would have someone at the ready in case things didn’t work out.
Lazarus has a strong resume. At Turner, he went from president of Turner Entertainment Sales and Marketing and president of Turner Sports to president of Turner Entertainment with responsibility for TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies and what is now truTV, along with their digital business and other properties.
He doesn’t have Ebersol’s kind of experience in broadcast or the depth of his association with the IOC and the Olympics. On his watch, Turner acquired cable rights for NBA, NASCAR, Wimbledon, the British Open, and internet rights for NASCAR.com and PGA.com.