Kernis joins start-up team for NBC’s primetime newsmag

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Jay Kernis’s vacation from the TV news business lasted less than two weeks.The former NPR programming exec has joined an NBC News team that’s creating a new primetime newsmag hosted by Brian Williams for debut in October. As a piece producer on the as-yet-unnamed show, he’s working on a story with former CBS anchor Harry Smith, who ended his 25-year CBS career to work on NBC’s new broadcast.

Kernis played a key role in creating and updating NPR’s flagship programs in two separate stints in public radio. When he left NPR for CBS News in 1987, Smith was the first anchor he worked with, he told Current.

Kernis left his most recent TV job last month — as senior producer and blogger of CNN’s In the Arena, the Eliot Spitzer show that delivered its farewell broadcast last night. He planned to be a consultant and take time to consider his career options — possibly including a return to public radio — but NBC moved quickly to hire him for the new broadcast. Another CBS veteran, Rome Hartman, is e.p. of the new NBC show.