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NYPost: Jeff Zucker To Leave NBC Universal Within A Year??

Published at: June 2, 2010, 8:53 p.m. CST

I am – Hercules!! NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker, the man whose regime kicked Conan O’Brien to the curb in favor of Jay Leno, is reportedly himself about to leave NBC with a similar exit deal, taking with him about $30-40 million for his stewardship of what is now America’s fourth-place network, according to the New York Post. The Post says Zucker will be out “a couple of months” after Comcast’s expected acquisition of NBCU is completed, likely in early 2011. Current NBCU parent GE calls reports of the exit package “not true.” From the Post story:
Just a few months ago, Comcast and GE extended Zucker's contract until 2013 saying he would continue as CEO of the newly merged entity, though sources say it's clear Comcast Corp. COO Steve Burke intends to play the lead role.
Zucker ascended from executive producer of “The Today Show” to president of NBC entertainment in 2000. During his tenure overseeing the network, NBC slid from first place to fourth among broadcast networks, where it remains today. He was promoted to president of NBC Entertainment’s News & Cable Group in 2003, promoted again to president of the NBC television group in 2004, promoted again to CEO of NBC in 2005, and promoted again to president and CEO of NBC Universal in 2007. Zucker’s regime famously saw the ouster of Aaron Sorkin as showrunner of “The West Wing.” From Wikipedia:
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that in Hollywood “there has been a single topic of discussion: How does Jeff Zucker keep rising and rising while the fortunes of NBC keep falling and falling? ...many in the Hollywood community have always regarded him as ...a network Napoleon who never bothered to learn about developing shows and managing talent." She explained that Zucker "is a master at managing up with bosses and calculating cost-per-hour benefits, but even though he made money on cable shows, he could not program network to save his life." Dowd also reported that an unnamed "honcho at another network" stated that "Zucker is a case study in the most destructive media executive ever to exist... You’d have to tell me who else has taken a once-great network and literally destroyed it."
Series introduced by NBC since the fall of 2000 include “The Michael Richards Show,” “DAG,” “Titans,” “Cursed,” “Tucker,” “Deadline,” “Emeril,” “Inside Schwartz,” “UC Undercover,” “In-Laws,” “Hidden Hills,” “Good Morning, Miami,” “American Dreams,” “Boomtown,” “Whoopi,” “Happy Family,” “Coupling,” “Miss Match,” “The Lyon’s Den,” “LAX,” “Hawaii,” “Joey,” “Medical Investigation,” “Surface,” “E-Ring,” “Three Wishes,” “Inconceivable,” “Four Kings,” “Father of the Pride,” “The Book of Daniel,” “Teachers,” “Heist,” “Windfall,” “Conviction,” “Treasure Hunters,” “Studio 60,” “Twenty Good Years,” “Kidnapped,” “1 Vs. 100,” “Journeyman,” “The Singing Bee,” “Phenomenon,” “Bionic Woman,” “Life,” “American Gladiators,” “My Dad is Better Than Your Dad,” “Lipstick Jungle,” “Amne$ia,” “Nashville Star,” “The Baby Borrowers,” “Celebrity Circus,” “Fear Itself,” “America’s Toughest Jobs,” “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Knight Rider,” “Kath & Kim,” “Crusoe,” “Kings,” “Community,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Trauma,” “Mercy,” “The Jay Leno Show,” “Parenthood,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” “Minute To Win It” and “The Marriage Ref.” Longer-lived series introduced under Zucker’s regime include “Crossing Jordan,” “Scrubs,” “Ed,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Fear Factor,” “The Apprentice,” “Las Vegas,” “Last Comic Standing,” “The Biggest Loser,” “The Office,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Deal or No Deal,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Heroes,” “Friday Night Lights,” “30 Rock,” “Chuck,” and “Sunday Night Football.” Find all of the Post’s story on the matter here.
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Readers Talkback

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  • June 2, 2010, 1:57 p.m. CST

    yay?

    by yourSTEPDADDY

  • June 2, 2010, 1:59 p.m. CST

    even though nbc seems to be the only good network

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    if fox didnt screw over dollhouse, king of the hill, and firefly, i would love them more

  • June 2, 2010, 2 p.m. CST

    Good. He should take Dick Embersol with him.

    by -mrbean-

    How Embersol (sp?) is even still there beyond failure after failure in the NBC Sports front is amazing.

  • June 2, 2010, 2:10 p.m. CST

    LIFE

    by kaijuturtle

  • June 2, 2010, 2:10 p.m. CST

    How did this asshole keep his job for so long?

    by HerbDean

    Because he negotiated the Friends cast to stay on for a 10th season? This is the man who lost serious money by siding with Leno instead of Conan. (Think long term people) Jeff Zucker's office should be stormed by a mob, composed of a mulitcultural mix of people, different genders, sexes, ages, and taken out to the middle of the street and forced to commit suicide. He took NBC from first to last! Seriously!

  • June 2, 2010, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Bring back Conan

    by _Venkman

    Too soon?

  • June 2, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    I would love to swing a samurai sword through Jeff Zucker's

    by HerbDean

    neck right now! OH MAN!

  • June 2, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    "How did this asshole keep his job for so long?"

    by RedEgiraahgnal

    It just happens. Remember how long Eisner was at Disney?

  • June 2, 2010, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Funny how most of those shows went to cable

    by RPLocke

  • June 2, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Of course GE says it's not true

    by Cash907

    because they gave him 60 million to leave, not 30. Success fails upwards in Hollywood.

  • June 2, 2010, 2:19 p.m. CST

    So he DIDN'T survive the Leno/Conan debacle.

    by AnnoyYou

    Heh. Comcast wants a tabula rasa and if they have to give Zucker a huge golden parachute to get rid of him, they'll do it. Now let's see if they'll replace him with someone who actually has brains and vision. Not likely, but at this point almost anyone would be an improvement.

  • June 2, 2010, 2:21 p.m. CST

    It's about time.

    by jimmy rabbitte

    NBC is in the crapper; and has been, for quite some time.

  • June 2, 2010, 2:33 p.m. CST

    NBC = NEVER BETRAY CONAN

    by CRISPIN_GLOVERS_ACID_FLASHBACK

    Here's to your fuck, Zucker!

  • June 2, 2010, 2:34 p.m. CST

    He'll pull a Leno on his successor

    by jawsfan

    He'll hand the job to someone else, then take it back 6 months later.

  • June 2, 2010, 2:52 p.m. CST

    I thought Herc loved NBC?

    by RPLocke

    He fawns all over Parenthood, Community, Office, SNL, he loves that channel.

  • June 2, 2010, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Watch him get a job with TBS

    by RedBull_Werewolf

    I wonder if conan would go all postal?

  • June 2, 2010, 2:59 p.m. CST

    well

    by adml_shake

    I sure as hell won't feel bad seeing him go. He started the slow flush down the shitter for that network years ago. I'm still pissed about Kings and Life getting the can while other crappy shows got to carry on.

  • June 2, 2010, 3:03 p.m. CST

    This Is What's Wrong With America

    by Crow3711

    It's pretty much all right there in that wikipedia article. Also, the list of shows that have gotten canceled under his regime is hilarious. 98% of those shows really were just utterly fucking awful. Sad for NBC. I think they should take my live-action Thundercats series idea.

  • June 2, 2010, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Yay.

    by Margot Tenenbaum

    This means I can watch the second half of 30 Rock's fifth season.

  • June 2, 2010, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Good

    by Rand92

    I remember when NBC used to make good shows. This guy should have been fired a long time ago and he should not get paid to leave either. Just fire his ass and get someone in there who knows programming. No more Law and Order spin offs or clones. Make a damned original hour-long drama. You already have 9000 stupid sitcoms. Remember when sitcoms were Thursday night only? Hire someone who knows creativity.

  • June 2, 2010, 3:33 p.m. CST

    A Second Golden Age

    by DmitryPortnoy

    A few years or maybe moments from now, we will finally that we have lived through a second golden age of television for which Jeff Zucker was largely if unwittingly responsible. In his pursuit of cheap high-concept prime-time filler, he sent the hour-long drama out to pasture, freeing it from the onus of catering to the lowest denominator or censorship to network standards. Others stepped in, saving money by ordering shorter seasons and offering lower salaries in exchange for creative freedom: this is how we got "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire," "Mad Men," "Battlestar Galactica," and many, many others. Some of this new wave even washed up over on broadcast networks in the form of "Lost," "House," even "30 Rock." Even the worst scripted shows right now are far, far better than when I was growing up, and the average quality of TV drama and comedy is much higher than it was in the 90's or 80's. Can you say the same about feature films? Let's thank Jeff Zucker for making all this possible, even if he didn't mean for it to happen. And who knows, maybe he's one of those rare reverse evil geniuses and did.

  • June 2, 2010, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Good, now bring back Journeyman

    by br1947

  • June 2, 2010, 3:36 p.m. CST

    A Second Golden Age Correction

    by DmitryPortnoy

    The first sentence of my last post should read "A few years or maybe moments from now, we will finally admit that we have lived through a second golden age of television for which Jeff Zucker was largely if unwittingly responsible."

  • June 2, 2010, 3:53 p.m. CST

    One good thing about Zucker

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    Is that if NBC had been run professionally the last few years, some of the best shows on tv like 30 rock, chuck and parks might not be on. They are low rated and any other network would have axed them. It took a nutball incompetent to keep stuff like that on the air, so while I don't have any respect for Zucker's management, he kind of accidentally helped some things.

  • June 2, 2010, 3:53 p.m. CST

    goodbye jeff zucker says nbc

    by emeraldboy

    hello jeff zucker to fox. he is conservative republican.

  • June 2, 2010, 4 p.m. CST

    Buh-bye, then, Jeffrey. (in advance)

    by Triple_J_72

    Can't wait.

  • June 2, 2010, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Karma finally caught up with him

    by Lando Griffin

    and I'm with MrBean - Ebersol needs to go next. Besides the Olympics, whcih people barely care about every two years, NBC has shit for sports - well they got Sunday Night Football a couple of years ago but before that there was a dry spell - no NBA or MLB for years. Sure I'm a fan of their Thursday lineup and watch SNL but other than that I have no use for them especially after what they did to Conan

  • June 2, 2010, 5:11 p.m. CST

    br1947, re: Journeyman

    by Munchausen

    Word.

  • June 2, 2010, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Zucker sucks, but Dowd is not credible.

    by mjgtexas

    Dowd was Sorkin's elitist fuck buddy so her reporting is a bit of the same inside the (entertainment) beltway bs she so often decries.

  • June 2, 2010, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Now get rid of Gaspin, Graboff and Bromstad and then it'll be go

    by polyh3dron

  • June 2, 2010, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah Ebersol too.

    by polyh3dron

  • June 2, 2010, 5:34 p.m. CST

    AHHHHHHH JOURNEYMAN!!!

    by nalapou

    I miss thee!!! KETCHUP SANDWICHES!! You're an idiot, Zucker.

  • June 2, 2010, 5:36 p.m. CST

    GOOD RIDDANCE.

    by MR. MURDOCH

    That is all.

  • June 2, 2010, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Hope they double-bag the trash can...

    by JayLenoTookMyJob

    ...they carry him out to the curb in.

  • June 2, 2010, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Maybe his latest brilliant idea...

    by JayLenoTookMyJob

    ..."Let's cancel Law and Order and replace it with... Law and Order: Los Angeles!" was the one that finally did him in. Can we banish him and Leno to one of those cartoon 10-foot wide desert islands with only one palm tree?

  • June 2, 2010, 5:55 p.m. CST

    My 2 cents

    by DK1138

    The list of cancelled shows reminds me on the first Family Guy back after they got canceled. They listed all the shows that were canceled at Fox in their absence. If this does come to pass at NBC, I hope 30 Rock does a sly dig at the network, like they did with the Conan thing (never before has the late shift of cleaning NBC offices been so entertaining!)

  • June 2, 2010, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Welfare for the Rich

    by _Maltheus_

    Pretty much all CEOs and studio heads are like the incompetent, inbread children of royalty. They have no skills or talent and none of them are after corporate profitability. It's just a clique of friends who find sweet jobs for each other. The board of directors doesn't care because they are in the clique. The same is true of government or any large institution these days. I firmly believe that this is the root of almost every major problem we face nowadays. I have no problem with the rich (greed is good), so long as the wealth is well-earned, but what we have now is akin to the conditions before the French revolution.

  • June 2, 2010, 6:32 p.m. CST

    They should keep him on contract, make him....

    by chromedome

    ...detail all Leno's cars, full time.<p>Wax on, wax off!

  • June 2, 2010, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Maybe I'll get killed for saying this...

    by Kavalier

    I'm not defending the guy, but didn't Friends and Seinfeld go off the air around 2000? Those two shows carried NBC for quite awhile (at least as far as making NBC culturally relevant). It would be hard for anyone to follow up to that kind of success.

  • June 2, 2010, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Will they give me 30 million to ruin their network?

    by Lashlarue

    I'd probably do it for a lot less.

  • June 2, 2010, 7:44 p.m. CST

    Zucker The Fucker

    by Darth_Kaos

    Oh this douche bag is gone. They have to play nice till the Comcast deal is sealed. Believe me, this guy is a GHOST! and 4 years too late. Hollywood is stupid, which means he'll be running FOX.

  • June 2, 2010, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Why did it take this long?

    by JuanSanchez

  • June 2, 2010, 7:54 p.m. CST

    You forgot Kings (not 2B confused with 4 Kings)

    by DreamSeasonBobby

    Kings was pretty good creatively speaking. And I'd rather watch UC Undercover, Boomtown, Journeyman, and even Heroes reruns all day than half of the crap that's headed our way in Fall.

  • June 2, 2010, 8:56 p.m. CST

    They should keep him on as a consultant

    by Kauzi Sezso

    Every recommendation he makes, do the opposite.

  • June 2, 2010, 10:03 p.m. CST

    lotta oser shows on that list, but

    by VikkiMarsdale

    Taste and personal preferences are all relative, of course, but I'd say whoever greenlit “Good Morning, Miami,” “Boomtown,” “LAX,” “Father of the Pride,” “The Book of Daniel,” “Studio 60,” “Lipstick Jungle,” “Las Vegas,” “Heroes” and “Chuck” had better taste than whoever canceled them (or in Chuck's case keeps giving it half season orders). <br /> <br /> That of course is based on the premise that ratings success does not equal quality. Anyone disagree with that?

  • June 2, 2010, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Wow, how can I get a job...

    by Tim Tringle

    Where my ineptitude leading to my companies long slide into mediocrity and Reality TV despair simply leads to more promotions and raises WTF??? He must have the best blackmail evidence evah!!

  • June 2, 2010, 11:59 p.m. CST

    Comcast, first order of business

    by Turd Furgeson

    Fire Leno, and give the Tonight Show to Joel McHale or Chelsea Handler.. Get a huge 18-49 rating, fuck the over 49 crowd, then re-tool prime time and The Today Show. Get a REAL tentpole show back on Thursday night, all will be good.

  • June 3, 2010, 2:20 a.m. CST

    When Leno finally dies...

    by AnnoyYou

    ...because you know that's the only way he'll leave the Tonight Show now, they'll probably replace him with someone like Ryan Seacrest. Mark my words. Unless it changes radically (and that's highly doubtful) NBC will never again go with anyone who does "edgy" comedy. This means anyone like Ferguson, McHale, Handler etc. are out.

  • June 3, 2010, 5:38 a.m. CST

    Classic example

    by The McPoyle Clan

    of some brown-noser who falls upward after a modest success. That is, if you call turning the morning news programs into schlock success.<br><br>But if the tradeoff was between having him staying and continuing to ruin NBC or a combined Comcrap/NBC fuck the television industry, I'll take the former.

  • June 3, 2010, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Call Natalie Portman

    by BizarroJerry

    So she can slap the shit out of him.

  • June 3, 2010, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Isn't it common policy...

    by BizarroJerry

    for a merger to lead to executives being replaced? It may not be, at least not completely, an indication that they think he sucks.

  • June 3, 2010, 9:22 a.m. CST

    What they need to do is give the Tonight Show to Tina Fey

    by Margot Tenenbaum

    and SNL too, when Lorne Michaels retires.

  • June 3, 2010, 9:43 a.m. CST

    FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

    by bluelou_boyle

    Give him credit for that. He kept it on when the sensible business decison would have been to cancel it.

  • June 3, 2010, 9:47 a.m. CST

    To paraphrase Mel Brooks: "It's good to be CEO!"

    by jim

    Slight correction Hercules - American Dreams was on 3 years so it probably deserves to be on the "Longer-lived series" list.

  • June 3, 2010, 10:57 a.m. CST

    I know Show Runners...

    by BigEddieCalzone

    ...who are downright giddy at the thought. When the network commands that 1-hr shows be broken down into six and SEVEN acts (Heroes), no wonder you can't follow a drama anymore. YOu feel like apologizing for interrupting the non-stop stream of commercials with a little story...

  • June 3, 2010, 12:13 p.m. CST

    re: Kavalier

    by jimmy rabbitte

    Not going to kill you, for your comment. It's just that your dates don't line up exactly. Seinfeld ended in 1998 and Friends ran through May of 2004.<p> The knocks on Zucker are valid. NBC used to owned Thursday at 10:00 pm for years. They went from Hill Street Blues (I was a little kid and never watched this) to L.A. Law (I was in high school and didn't care about it) to ER. ER was a great show, in its' first year and was very good for the next 3 or 4 seasons. The downward spiral of that show coincides with Zucker's taking over the network; and NBC hasn't developed a great, can't miss drama since. The best, most followed dramas, since ER premiered were all on other networks. CBS had CSI, HBO had The Sopranos, FX had The Shield and Rescue Me and so on... It could be rebuilt but Jeff Zucker has no idea how to make it happen. I'm looking forward, to his dismissal; and I don't feel bad about it because he's getting millions in severance that he doesn't deserve.

  • June 3, 2010, 1:52 p.m. CST

    good riddance!

    by Stalkeye

  • June 3, 2010, 3:20 p.m. CST

    His parting gift to the world

    by smackfu

    and by parting gift I mean a flaming bag of feces on our doorstep, is the inevitable "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" 10 years from now.

  • June 3, 2010, 3:48 p.m. CST

    As Snowpuff predicted

    by snowpuff

    As predicted by Snowpuff Jan 12th, 2010 when NBC first asked Conan to move to 12:05 a.m. "One year from today: Conan O'Brien will not be at NBC. Jeff Zucker will not be at NBC. Jay Leno will be at NBC. Say what you want about Jay, but he always manages to come out on top." Link! http://www.aintitcool.com/talkback_display/43607#comment_3089184

  • June 3, 2010, 3:50 p.m. CST

    As Snowpuff predicted

    by snowpuff

    As predicted by Snowpuff Jan 12th, 2010 when NBC first asked Conan to move to 12:05 a.m.<br> <br> "One year from today:<br><br>Conan O'Brien will not be at NBC.<br><br>Jeff Zucker will not be at NBC.<br><br>Jay Leno will be at NBC.<br><br>Say what you want about Jay, but he always manages to come out on top."<br><br> Link!<br><br> http://www.aintitcool.com/talkback_display/43607#comment_3089184

  • June 3, 2010, 4:09 p.m. CST

    KABLETOWN WITH A K

    by KinoEscalate

  • June 4, 2010, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Jay Leno = Hero!?

    by Evil Sean

    I've never liked Jay Leno, but apparently his plan to move to 10 and back to get Jeff Zucker fired and save the once proud Peacock Network worked beautifully. "He switched it. The lights were on out here while he was safe in there."

  • June 5, 2010, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Man, Jay Leno keeps taking other people's jobs, don't he? :P

    by MrMysteryGuest