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Zucker Tries to Save Face on Charlie Rose

by Anne Thompson
January 19, 2010 7:59 AM
4 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

You know things are bad when the CEO of NBC Universal goes on Charlie Rose to try and save his job.

Jeff Zucker took full responsibility for the programming experiments that haven't worked, such as putting Jay Leno on at 10 PM. He believes in taking chances, "not stupid chances, chances that have some degree of possibility of success," he said: "Nothing tried, nothing gained."

He must improve NBC's programming in future, he said, while pointing out that network ups and downs are cyclical. And he stands by the current management that is in place. (He has no choice, having tried out Ben Silverman and failed.) He's confident that they will do better. He didn't let Charlie Rose throw him off-message. Rose was tough about how many people are saying that NBC is a "shambles" and that Zucker needs to be replaced. Zucker feels confident that the current media firestorm--overblown, in his mind--will soon pass, he said.

Now the media is focused on who gets to keep such O'Brien props as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. And Revision 3, fancifully, wants to lure Conan to the Internet.

Truth is, Leno's ratings were higher at 10 PM than they were on The Tonight Show, but weren't competitive for prime time. His Tonight Show ratings were much higher than O'Brien's or any other late night show. But can he recover them? His older viewership likely will be less rattled by all this craziness than O'Brien's younger fanbase. Leno may have picked up new viewers, too. But for the moment popular opinion and ratings are surging O'Brien's way.

Did Zucker improve his situation with this transparent PR maneuver? No way. He just gave Rose a chance to lay out everything that has gone so terribly wrong.


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More: TV

4 Comments

  • Tony Turko | December 3, 2010 4:52 AMReply

    Dec 2 2010 Rebroadcast of this Charlie Rose interview, Jeff Zucker shows Fox news his white flag. And he should! Praising a failed case in anger management, Keith Olbermann. Zucker must think where all suckers if he thinks we would pay to see Hoodwink Left wing propaganda dribble. The BS platitude king President Obama and his loyal followers may enjoy sacrificing brain cells that once could interpret a hot stove, and now follow Godless, sex perverted, global warming nonsense! I on the other hand choose fair and balanced Fox news and Jon Stuart.

  • informedbutindifferent | January 22, 2010 12:33 AMReply

    Zucker should've lost his job years ago. He's had far more competent underlings take the fall for his ineptitude.

  • Whydopeoplekidthemselves? | January 21, 2010 8:14 AMReply

    If anyone appreciates comedy, they know Leno sucks. Simple as that. Leno is a money-grubbing goon who has a sexual fetish towards old automobiles and right-wing politics. Were he a horse, he would have been put down before he ever got to host The Tonight Show for one night a week. So terrible. Shameful. And after he milked a bazillion dollars out of job he never deserved, spent on excesses he didn't need, he wanted the audience (who is REALLY getting ripped off) to side with him?

  • Jerry | January 20, 2010 3:29 AMReply

    If Comcast doesn't fire Zucker when they gain control of NBC I'll be surprised.

    He's a first class representation of an anal retentive, self absorbed, clueless executive. He says it's just "business", but with him it's been anything BUT business, as evidenced by how he's handled this whole Late Night mess.

    I've been watching O'Brien this week, and I have to say comically speaking, the guy is on fire. You can't say that about Leno.

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