Earlier this year, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim and his friend Eric Newman, a Hollywood writer and producer, sold a political thriller mini-series to Netflix. This wasn’t Oppenheim’s first foray in Hollywood. After an early career as a show producer across the various NBC news channels, Oppenheim had left 30 Rock in 2008 to pursue his ambitions as a screenwriter—co-writing a couple notable science fiction films before writing Jackie, the Camelot biopic that won him Best Screenplay at Venice.
But ever since 2015, when Oppenheim returned to NBC News, and certainly after his promotion to president two years later, his screenwriting career was placed on indefinite hiatus. The obligations of running a national news network were too demanding—especially given the various tightrope-walking headaches, from Brian Williams’ relocation to the Matt Lauer revelations—for even an ambitious and still relatively young overachiever who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. (Funny how this detail can keep popping up in one’s autobiography…)
The recent revelations about the Netflix project have reignited some long-standing suspicions inside NBC that Oppenheim might be loose in the saddle. If you’ve so much as walked by The Rink at Rockefeller in recent months, you’ve probably heard someone speculate that he was on the way out. Sources higher up in the building say that’s not true now, but they presume that it likely will be in a matter of months.