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New Hartford native makes Today Show history in executive producer position

There's another shakeup at the Today Show, this time involving someone who hails from New Hartford.

Posted: Jan. 18, 2018 5:25 PM

There's another shakeup at the Today Show.

Just weeks after naming Hoda Kotb as Savannah Guthrie’s co-anchor, replacing Matt Lauer, NEWSChannel 2 received an email from the chairman of NBC that caught our attention. The show has a new executive producer, and she hails from New Hartford.

Photo courtesy of Libby Leist on Twitter

Libby Leist is the first female executive producer for the 7-8 a.m. time slot in the show's 66-year history. But she's not exactly new there, having worked as a senior producer for Today for the last five years.

Leist went to school in the New Hartford Central School District through ninth grade and then went away for school. Leist’s family still lives in town, and her parents, Connie and Alan Leist, are beyond proud of their daughter. They tell us she’s been interested in news since she could read.
“She got an internship working at WKTV with Shell Storier. Shell Storier then said to her, ‘I like the way you work – let me see if I can get you a couple of interviews after your graduate,’” said Alan Leist, Libby’s father. “He got her an interview with his wife's help, with Tim Russert down in Washington. The story goes like this … Tim said, ‘Well, what's happening in the news?’ And Libby told him, and he said, ‘Well, that was yesterday.’ She said, ‘Oh, you mean today.’ She gave him the rundown on today and that sealed the job.”

The chairman of NBC tells us that Heist has led the Today Show’s political coverage, including the 2016 broadcast from inside the White House. She’s held various roles with the network, getting her start in Washington, D.C. as a desk assistant.

Leist replaces Don Nash, who decided to step down from the position after nearly 30 years.

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