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Jeff Zucker Excited About Time Off; Mum On His Future Plans, Keith Olbermann’s Ouster

Nellie Andreeva

Three years ago, in the middle of the writers strike, NBC Uni CEO Jeff Zucker made big headlines with his NATPE keynote speech, in which he declared the broadcast model dead and touted two new NBC initiatives that he thought would revolutionize the TV business: the dismantlement of pilot season, with the network going straight to series on most projects instead, and the elimination of the formal upfront presentation, with NBC brass pitching advertisers at small gatherings instead.

Well, that was then. In one of his final appearances as CEO of NBCU, Zucker today returned to NATPE for a Q&A session conducted by his brother-in-law, Nomura Securities’ Michael Nathanson. Zucker was not asked about the 2008 appearance or the two NBC initiatives, both of which have long been scrapped. But according to news reports from the session, he was asked to comment on the abrupt departure of MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann. Zucker would not comment on Olbermann’s exit but praised him as a main driver of the cable news channel’s success. Zucker called Netflix a replacement for “the back-end syndication model for some shows that had gone away.” He wouldn’t comment on his plans for the future but reiterated his love for producing, news and sports. Zucker’s last day at NBCU is Friday. He said he is looking forward to Monday when he will wake up with nothing to do.

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Jeff Zucker’s Farewell Note To NBCU Staff

Nellie Andreeva

It was a memo like any other released by a CEO of a public company on the day the company’s quarterly earnings report is out. But this morning’s message by outgoing NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker about the company’s 4th quarter earnings ended on a farewell note as it comes a week before the completion of the Comcast-NBCU merger that will see Zucker replaced by Comcast’s Steve Burke. Here is what Zucker wrote:

As you know, the deal will formally close next Friday. That means this will be my last business update and indeed my last official word to each of you as CEO. Over the last few months, I made an effort to gather with every group of employees across the company. Hopefully, I’ve had a chance to meet and thank you personally for all you have done for this company. If I didn’t get to you, please accept my thanks now.  I have been asked many times what I will miss the most about NBC Universal. That’s easy. The wonderful people of this company. So many colleagues…so many friends. I will miss you all.

It has been a fantastic run of almost 25 years. For me, that chapter’s ending, but for all of you it’s an exciting new beginning. With Comcast, I leave you in good hands and have no doubt that you will continue to do great things. I look forward to following your progress.

With warm regards,
Jeff

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