NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol has resigned, reports Richard Sandomir of the New York Times. Mark Lazarus has been named as his replacement.
Sandomir says Ebersol denied that the resignation was related the result of disagreements with his new corporate bosses at Comcast. The New York Post, though, reported last month that Comcast's foot-dragging on renewing the Olympics was creating "friction" between the two sides (Ebersol has produced the Olympics for NBC since
1992 1988). His contract was due to expire in 2012
Since acquiring NBC, Comcast has placed a greater emphasis on regional sports networks, rather than large-scale, one-off events. Publicly at least, Ebersol supported this strategy, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this month that regional sports networks are "the single most important product that we have, not only on the new NBC Sports cable but also as the absolute king of winter and spring on NBC."
In addition to his role with sports, Ebersol was also a power player in late night at the network (he produced SNL during Lorne Michaels' exile from 1981 through 1985) and served as a go-between in the network's standoff with Conan O'Brien.
Update: NBC is still interested in acquiring the Olympics. International Olympic Committee member Richard Carrion tells the Chicago Tribune's Philip Hersh that he received a call today from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts "reassuring me they are extremely interested in continuing the relationship."