24 September 2010

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker gets a Cancellation Notice from Comcast

USA Today

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker said today that he'll end his 24-year career at the television, movie, Internet, and theme park giant when Comcast takes control. That could happen by year end if the deal is cleared by federal officials.

Zucker, 45, told staffers in a memo that "it is clear to me that this is the right decision for me and for the company" because Comcast deserves "the chance to implement their own vision."

But he told The New York Times that his departure was involuntary. In a meeting two weeks ago, he said, Comcast COO Steve Burke "made it clear that they wanted to move on."

Earlier Zucker pooh-poohed persistant speculation that Comcast might put its own team in charge when the deal closes.

Although once considered a wunderkind in his years as a news producer , Zucker's reputation as a corporate executive suffered as NBC's prime time audience fell. The nadir for the highly image-conscious CEO came early this year when he took responsibility for the management debacle from his decision to turn one of NBC's most important franchises, The Tonight Show, over to comedian Conan O'Brien. Audiences didn't warm to the new host, or to a weeknight show featuring the former host Jay Leno. O'Brien left the network when NBC asked Leno to return to The Tonight Show.

But Zucker said that the real focus of the company had shifted to cable where networks including USA, SyFy, CNBC, and MSNBC are thriving. He also hoped to establish a strong foothold in digital media by championing Hulu, which NBC Universal launched in a partnership with News Corp.

No comments:

Post a Comment