Another feather in Zucker’s cap

Alisa Roth Feb 5, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: Jeff Zucker is probably the envy of most television executives. Just listen to his resume: By age 26, he was running the Today show. Then, he took over NBC Nightly News. By 34, he was in charge of the whole NBC entertainment division. Now’s he 41 and word is, he’s getting another promotion. This week, Zucker will be named CEO of NBC Universal. He’ll replace 63-year-old Bob Wright. Alisa Roth tells us what’s on Zucker’s plate now.

ALISA ROTH: The NBC Jeff Zucker heads up will be substantially different from the one his predecessor took over nearly 20 years ago.

It’s no longer just a TV network. NBC’s holdings now include cable channels, a film studio, theme parks and Spanish-language media.

But blogger and journalism professor Jeff Jarvis says Zucker’s biggest challenge will be figuring out where television fits into the modern media landscape.

JEFF JARVIS: You’ve got to change the nature of broadcast TV. You’ve got to figure out the Internet works. You have to figure out how to work with people making their own television. It’s a very challenging job and you’ve got to change the culture of an entire network and do it fast.

Zucker is known for bringing low-brow shows like The Apprentice and Fear Factor to NBC. But he’s also been criticized for not finding a hit show. Under his current reign, the network’s ratings fell from first to fourth place.

And media-watcher Jarvis says Zucker will only succeed in his new job if he can find a hit show and resurrect those ratings.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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