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Zucker’s Farewell Tour Goes On And On…

By | Thursday November 18, 2010 @ 8:49am PST

Jeff Zucker Weeping In NBCU Town Halls

Why would The Paley Center For Media care what fired Jeff Zucker says about anything? Because he’s a trustee. His CNBC lackey Jim Cramer interviews him:

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TOLDJA! Steve Burke Becomes NBCU CEO

As far back as a year ago this October, I first reported that Comcast Corp COO/No. 2 Steve Burke would be running NBC Universal and replacing Jeff Zucker. And in November I explained that, because Burke would have his hands full there, Neil Smits from Charter Communication had been hired to assume Burke’s Comcast Cable Communications responsibilities. So today’s announcement is more than year old news to regular readers of Deadline Hollywood. Still, today’s official announcement really hits Zucker where it hurts coming just 2 1/2 weeks after he was shitcanned by Burke. Zucker on Friday decided to reveal his firing because he’d just finished negotiating his severance package. He sent an email to NBCU staff and told reporters Burke had made it clear that Comcast wanted to move on at the close of the deal so Zucker had to move off the top job.

Unlike Jeff who was widely regarded in Hollywood and NYC as a pretender to the throne, Steve is true showbiz royalty by blood. He’s the son of Dan Burke, the former president of Capital Cities/ABC before it was bought by Disney. The younger Burke graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School then joined Disney in 1986 and founded Disney Stores, then served as president of Euro Disney. He kept rising and became ABC broadcasting president. But left 10 years ago to join Comcast, where Steve was the architect of the largest cable company’s 2004 hostile takeover attempt of Disney. (Burke’s loathing of FrankenEisner was an open secret.) I recall that, during the Mouse House bid, Burke pledged to return Disney’s … Read More »

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Jeff Zucker, You Make It Too Easy For Me

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. To Philadelphia. That is, if you’re NBCU chief Jeff Zucker. I’m sure long beleaguered GE shareholders, and soon to be beleaguered Comcast shareholders (that is, if Zucker stays on after the merger) are overjoyed to hear that, on the eve of what’s being described as the most intensely competitive opening week for broadcast networks in recent memory, Zucker was giving a speech to Wharton students. About the science of good leadership. Because he’s supposed to be an expert. ”After all, we’re not paying $80,000 a year to end up in middle management,” archly wrote the official Wharton account of the mogul’s visit. ”Who better to teach us the skills of leadership than NBC Universal’s president and CEO Jeffrey Zucker.” Stop laughing, readers.

Even the Wharton account of his Thursday visit had little positive to say about NBC under Zucker. His “committing to ideas outside of the boundaries of generally accepted business practices … [was] super-sized episodes of Friends, adding 10 minutes to each show. ‘I was willing to take chances and it worked,’ he said.” Zucker as always wanted to talk only of the cable networks which his predecessor Bob Wright had left him. ”If we didn’t have the NBC network, people would think we were the best entertainment company.”

But it was Zucker’s philosophical words to the kids that I particularly relished: ”‘Content is king,’ he said. ‘It’s cheap to be first, but it’s expensive to be right.’ While Zucker acknowledged … Read More »

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