The New York Times’ Brian Stelter and Bill Carter have reaction to the Zucker news…
Walter Isaacson, who ran CNN from 2001 to 2003, preceding Mr. Walton, said Mr. Zucker was a smart choice because “CNN has great journalists, but what it has needed is an imaginative programmer who knows how to build good shows.”
Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, said that if anyone could “bring CNN back,” Mr. Zucker could. Referring to Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman, Mr. Griffin said: “Ailes on one side, Zucker on the other: Game on.”
As does USA Today’s Gary Levin…
“You can look at CNN’s problem in two ways,” says Andrew Tyndall, a TV-news analyst who runs The Tyndall Report. “Either it’s lost its way as a TV channel that doesn’t know how to attract audiences, or it’s lost its way as a journalistic enterprise. In the minds of Time Warner, by hiring Zucker they’re saying it’s a television problem, not a journalism problem.”
And Tyndall contends that CNN’s attempts to solve its woes by “defining itself negatively — ‘we’re not like them’ — is diminishing and bland.” The question, he says, is, “How can you have a strong personality and gravitas at the same time without being ideological?”
And the AP’s David Bauder…
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.
Bauder also touches on a topic on my mind…
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.
One would think Whitaker is safe; the reasoning being his prior stint at NBC News. Jautz, on the other hand, I’m less certain about due to his lack of success after taking over from Jon Klein.