Variety’s Brian Lowry writes about Jeff Zucker’s appearance at the TCA…
CNN chief Jeff Zucker fired back at Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes on Friday, saying his understanding is that an upcoming Ailes biography “confirms what we’ve known along, which is the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp. headquarters, masquerading as a cable channel.”
Speaking at the TV Critics Assn. tour Friday, Zucker made those remarks in response to an interview Ailes had given in which he said CNN is getting out of the news business. The CNN Worldwide president countered by saying the network remained committed to news but that his goal is to ”broaden the definition of offerings” on the network by including more series and documentary films, such as programs fronted by Morgan Spurlock and Anthony Bourdain, as well as the acclaimed documentary “Blackfish.”
Zucker dismissed Ailes’ criticism as “meant to deflect your attention from the book this week” and “silly.” Prior to the session, Zucker also told Variety that CNN would cover the Ailes book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” by Gabriel Sherman, calling it a legitimate news story given the implications of the role Fox News plays in relationship to the Republican Party and national politics.
Ugh…Zucker just painted a giant bullseye on his back that says “Come get me FNC”. Instead of trying to get CNN’s house in order in the most unassuming manner possible Zucker thrust everything he does under FNC PR’s microscope. Everything that comes Zucker’s way from FNC now and into the future can be traced back to this moment. While it will make for fun times for those of us who chronicle the spats between cable networks, it will utlimately prove to be a needlessly un-necessary distraction for CNN.