Chernin in, Zucker out?

The Business Insider’s Jay Yarrow speculates about Peter Chernin taking over for Jeff Zucker at NBCU if Comcast succeeds in acquiring a majority stake…

Anonymous executives familiar with the deal have said that Zucker would stay CEO if Comcast acquired NBC. Maybe that’s true, but maybe they just want Zucker’s support as the deal unfolds. They could always change their mind in 6 months. It is easier to justify firing Zucker if a competent replacement like Chernin is available.

Under Zucker’s watch the network has fallen completely off the map. His most recent, biggest, bet, the Jay Leno Show is already faltering. The LA Times reported yesterday loal affiliates are frustrated with the low ratings Leno is producing. Local news at 11 pm is profitable, but Leno’s weak lead-in is killing the ratings, threatening their bottom lines.

While he’s struggled with network programming, the cable division is strong.

When Peter Chernin left News Corp., he started his own production company, developing films and television shows. He’s already sold two to CBS. He’s also a personal friend of Stephe Burke, Comcast’s COO.

Related: The NY Times’ Tim Arango writes about Chernin’s involvement in the negotiations between Comcast and GE…

Mr. Chernin has not been a part of meetings with General Electric and its bankers about deal terms, but has been an active participant in internal meetings at Comcast, these people say. “It’s been very internal,” said one executive who has been in these meetings. “He’s helping the company understand what the prospects are for these content businesses.”

Executives involved in the negotiations said that Mr. Chernin was not expected to take on a management role if a deal between Comcast and G.E. is reached.

Still, news of Mr. Chernin’s involvement is likely to put more pressure on Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, who is fighting fires on several fronts. In addition to the question marks surrounding his future at the company in the event of a change in ownership, he has also faced recent management upheaval at Universal Studios, a primetime lineup mired in fourth place and questions about the success or failure of the recent experiment of placing Jay Leno in primetime.

2 Responses to “Chernin in, Zucker out?”

  1. biznews247 Says:

    The leadership of Zucker – in my humble opinion – is the main reason NBC is in the toilet. He was an outstanding programming whiz, but his overall stewardship of the massive NBC Universal has been way over his head. Chernin could be an outstanding replacement. If Comcast keeps Zucker, they are fools.

  2. I agree with biznews247

    Zucker Retention = Mistake

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