CNN is reportedly eyeing Jeff Zucker, the former President and CEO of NBCUniversal, to lead the network’s international news wing.
Brian Stelter reported in the New York Times this morning that, after a four-month search, CNN executives have finally centered on the former CEO as a lead candidate for the open position.
He will fill the shoes of CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton, whose 30-year career at the network surely leaves behind a legacy to be rivaled. Walton first announced his intention to step down in July, about three months before the press leaked Zucker’s own plans to leave his chair as executive producer at Katie Couric’s daytime talk show.
Zucker was NBC’s most well-known prodigy in the early ‘90s, earning the title of executive producer at only 26 years old. The "Today" program’s ratings skyrocketed, and Zucker was soon named president of NBC Entertainment. He would stay the company for another ten years until its acquisition by Comcast in January 2011.
“The wonderful people of this company . . . so many friends,” he wrote in a farewell letter to colleagues at the time. “I will miss you all. It has been a fantastic run of almost 25 years.”
The problem, critics say, is that CNN currently faces an identity crisis. While not explicitly partisan, Fox News and MSNBC are generally acknowledged as favoring certain political parties. CNN has always stayed in the political world’s relative center, making it difficult to compete with editorialized news.
Zucker’s solution, then, will involve how to entertain an audience without offending its delicate base.
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