Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Ex-NBC Universal head Zucker named new CNN chief

Jeff Zucker

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007, file photo, Jeff Zucker, President and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal, is seen at the 60th anniversary celebration of NBC's Meet the Press at the Newseum in Washington. CNN on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, named former NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker as its new top executive, searching for a way to turn around the original cable news network as it has lagged behind rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC.Zucker will start in January, based in New York and reporting to Phil Kent, who runs all of the Turner networks for parent company Time Warner. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

NEW YORK — Incoming CNN President Jeff Zucker said Thursday that he intends to make the network more “vibrant and exciting” while broadening the programming on television’s original but struggling cable news outlet.

The former NBC Universal chief’s long-rumored selection as CNN president was announced Thursday. He’ll start in January and report to Phil Kent, who runs all the Turner networks for parent company Time Warner.

Zucker will lead a large and profitable news organization with 23 separate businesses worldwide that has come to be defined by problems at the flagship U.S. network, particularly in prime time. CNN has never been able to solve the conundrum of how to keep viewers on quiet news days, while Fox News Channel and MSNBC have passed it by with combative programming that appeals to political partisans.

“The key is that CNN remain true to its ideals of great journalism but at the same time be vibrant and exciting,” Zucker said. “Just because you’re not partisan doesn’t mean you can’t be exciting.”

He said it was premature to offer specifics. Although he said it was his goal to beat Fox and MSNBC in the ratings, it was important to note that he sees the television competition more broadly.

“News is not just about politics and war,” he said.

CNN this summer said it was developing a program featuring celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, and Zucker cited it as some of the new thinking he’s hoping to see.

Kent said it was essential for CNN to build a base of hardcore fans who will stick with the network no matter the news of the day. Both Kent and Zucker said CNN has no plans to retreat from its stance of unbiased reporting.

“CNN does not have an identity problem,” Kent said. “CNN knows what it is and what its identity is. If anything, CNN has an execution problem.”

During this election year, CNN is averaging 763,000 viewers in prime time on weekdays, up 2 percent from 2011, according to the Nielsen Co. Fox is averaging 2.5 million, up 13 percent from last year, and MSNBC is at 1.1 million, a 22 percent increase.

Anderson Cooper is CNN’s best-known news anchor, with a news show that airs at 8 and 10 p.m. Eastern time. Piers Morgan hosts a nightly talk show modeled after Larry King’s. Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett, Candy Crowley, Soledad O’Brien and Sanjay Gupta are among the network’s most popular personalities.

Kent said he was seeking someone with news and television management experience who could be a magnet for talent. Zucker shot to fame in TV as executive producer of the “Today” show at the start of its morning dynasty in the 1990s. He was less successful as NBC’s entertainment president. As chief of NBC Universal, he couldn’t turn the flagship company around but oversaw a profitable and growing stable of cable networks.

Zucker replaces Jim Walton, who announced this summer that he was leaving.

Zucker said he took note of the opportunity after Walton’s announcement but didn’t inquire about it until being contacted by Kent after Labor Day. Their discussions grew more serious during the past few weeks, he said.

While familiar with CNN, he said in an interview that “I have watched it with a slightly different eye more recently. Obviously, there’s a tremendous amount of fantastic work that goes on here.”

Zucker was behind the ill-fated move of Conan O’Brien to the “Tonight” show, with Jay Leno’s brief and disastrous stay in prime time. But an unorthodox Zucker personnel decision – recruiting Meredith Vieira to replace Katie Couric on “Today” – was a big winner.

A brash and opinionated executive, Zucker rubbed many people in the Hollywood power structure the wrong way. But Kent said he was interested only in Zucker’s news experience.

“Whether Jeff Zucker was the best leader for NBC’s entertainment division was irrelevant to me,” he said.

Since leaving NBC Universal after its purchase by Comcast Corp., Zucker has helped Couric launch a daytime talk show. Couric said she was excited for Zucker’s opportunity “and equally excited for CNN.”

Roger Ailes, top executive at Fox News, offered a welcome to Zucker on Thursday.

“I have known Jeff for a quarter of a century and he is one of the most experienced executives in the business,” Ailes said. “He is a talented producer with solid strategic skills and I’m sure he’ll make a difference at CNN. I wish Jeff the best.”

Tom Johnson, president of CNN during the 1990s, called Zucker’s hiring a “splendid choice.”

“I would hope it would be a return to CNN where news trumps all programming so CNN gets back to its basics of being a breaking news network,” Johnson said.

There was no word on the futures of Ken Jautz and Mark Whitaker, who have been running the flagship network on a day-to-day basis since Walton’s departure. Zucker will also have management control over HLN, CNN International and the CNN.com website.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Carli takes oath, now Vacaville’s 14th police chief

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Huge jump in Solano median home price

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A1, 8 Comments | Gallery

Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Solano DA hosts workshop to fight human trafficking

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Donate a car, help build a house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield town hall on crime delayed

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 11 Comments

Railway museum offers wine-tasting rides

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
 
Drugs topic of cardiac class

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Weather for April 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
Fairfield police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun Police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Body of California man who jumped into river found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Seabird from Atlantic spotted on Alcatraz

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-Bell city leader gets 12 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Governor calls special session on rainy day fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ferry sinks off South Korea; 6 dead, 290 missing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Man charged with marathon hoax is held on bail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Geneva talks on Ukraine face steep hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Parenting demands responsibility

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Obamacare news you probably missed

By Martin Schram | From Page: A11, 4 Comments

Editorial Cartoons for April 17, 2014

By Kim Durbin | From Page: A11

 
In support of Pam Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

.

Living

Today in History for April 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

A lesson in household budgeting

By Chris Erskine | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for April 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Daniel Radcliffe on why New York audiences rock

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Alicia Silverstone out with book ‘Kind Mama’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on ‘The View’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ailing Malcolm Young taking break from AC/DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

MEL, SCAC tangle in hoops all-star games

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Sharks take goalie questions into rematch vs Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Crawford’s 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Vacaville’s Peralta to wrestle at San Francisco State

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Angels beat A’s 5-4 on Iannetta’s HR in 12th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Spieth ready for more after Masters success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Backup QB Matt Flynn returns to Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sidney Rice agrees to terms with Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodwin helps Suns to 104-99 win over Kings in finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

IndyCar driver Saavedra fined $10K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sandoval’s single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Officer: Sharper’s DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Yellen: Fed stimulus still needed for job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Google’s 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9