“Jeff’s experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success,” said Kent in a statement. “He built and sustained the number-one brand in morning news, and under his watch NBC’s signature news programming set a standard for quality and professionalism.”
Zucker’s own statement expressed excitement for his new job: “I am thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN, The global reach and scale of the CNN brand is unparalleled in all of news. Outside of my family and the Miami Dolphins, there is nothing I am as passionate about as journalism.”
Until now, virtually all of Zucker’s career has been at NBC, where he began as a researcher and first came to prominence as the executive producer of “Today.” In 2000, he was named the president of NBC Entertainment. This was followed by president of NBC Entertainment’s News and Cable Group in 2003, president of NBC Television Group in 2004, CEO of NBC in 2005, and president and CEO of NBC Universal in 2007.
While Zucker’s leadership of news and reality programming can be considered a success, his handling of some other aspects of television have been criticized. The executive took significant criticism over the rescheduling of late-night hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien in 2010, and many have noted that NBC fell from being the number-one network to number-four during Zucker’s tenure.
We will have to wait and see what happens with CNN.