NEW YORK - Dick Ebersol, who made NBC the TV home of the Olympics for more than two decades, will watch someone else run the network's coverage of next year's Summer Games.
The powerful TV executive behind shows from "Saturday Night Live" to "Sunday Night Football" has resigned as head of NBC Sports in a contract dispute with his new bosses at Comcast.
The break was sudden and unexpected: Ebersol got a promotion when Comcast took over NBC Universal earlier this year and appeared Monday at a presentation NBC gave to advertisers in New York, tossing footballs from the stage and talking about coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.
Now, he said he'll be an uninvolved spectator.
"I think it'll be fun once I get past thinking, 'I would've done that differently,' " he said yesterday.
Ebersol said he wanted "to make a really cool deal" with Comcast executives. "We just couldn't get to the same place." His 9-year contract with NBC was due to expire at the end of next year.
He said his resignation was partly timed so it would be clear with both Comcast and the International Olympic Committee that he would no longer be involved with the Olympics.
NBC designated Mark Lazarus, former head of Turner Sports who joined NBC Universal in February to run its cable sports operation, to replace Ebersol.
It's another major signal that the Philadelphia-based cable giant was breaking from NBC's recent past. During the same presentation to advertisers this week, new Comcast appointee Ted Harbert made it a point to say NBC had to do "a little less reinventing the wheel" and get back to broadcasting basics.
The 63-year-old Ebersol's dedication to the Olympics dates to 1967, when he temporarily left Yale to work at ABC as an Olympics researcher at the side of renowned TV producer Roone Arledge.
Ebersol, who began running NBC Sports in 1989, has made it the Olympics network: NBC has broadcast every Summer Olympics since 1988 and every Winter Games since 2002. *