Locally, we’ve seen some pretty intense media cannings take place, specifically at the New York Daily News, which also goes without mentioning Katy Perry being booted off Sesame Street. Well, this morning, news went wide of two more big ones: CNN president Jon Klein is out, and NBC-Universal President Jeff Zucker is out.
Jeff Zucker, who’s worked for NBC for 916 18 years, beginning his career there as a 26-year-old producer on The Today Show, gets Bill Carter to write him a weepy press release of an interview exclusive about how, once Comcast completes their merger with NBC, Zucker is out of a job. It’s at the New York Times, though for the record, the announcement of Zucker’s departure went through CNBC first. Hopefully he has a nice severance. Zucker likely made the company a lot of money, but also was widely criticized by media types for, I don’t know, being terrible with the prime-time lineup? And hiring Ben Silverman away from the young-gun’s production house into a job he had no proven track record of? Do any of these names matter to you? The point is, NBC fired a guy they had running the joint for a very, very long time, and if they take your favorite show off the air, or put your new favorite show on the air, you might know why. Nikki Finke’s reading like she’s about to have a coronary because she’s been waiting for this moment for six years. Her coverage of Zucker was never hot mean-spirited and hysterical.
Jon Klein, who’s now out as president at CNN, served an intense six years at the channel, many of which were spent viciously trying to fight off the extreme partisanship of rivals like MSNBC and Fox News. Many attempts were made under Klein to spice up the channel, however, many of which fell short (Campbell Brown), many of which ended in complete shitshows (Lou Dobbs), and many of which were and still are just a little too messy for a cable network to maintain respectability in the face of (Rick Sanchez). Klein was also responsible for Eliot Spitzer’s new show, which we’re obviously incredibly excited for, but whatever: His departure was rumored and denied for months on end, and now, it’s here. Dylan Stableford reports for The Wrap:
Klein, who had long resisted the rising tide of “partisan” news programming of his cable rivals, took a bit of a left turn this summer — hiring a pair of ideological sparring partners (Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, and Kathleen Parker, the conservative columnist) for a new primetime show.
Klein’s going to be replaced by Ken Jautz and a managing editor to be hired sometime soon. Jautz was the executive VP of CNN Worldwide, where he oversaw the trash that’s Headline News Network, which, if I’m not mistaken, still employs Nancy Grace, who is good for nothing but making fun of on The Soup. So that should be an interesting change. Which goes without saying, it apparently already is:
That was apparently the LA Times‘ Joe Flint, for the record.
Finally, Russel Brand — the British comedian who also happens to be Katy Perry’s boyfriend — had this to note on her girlfriend’s ouster from Sesame Street:
This is obviously the kind of outpouring of support Klein and Zucker could only dream of right now.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 24, 2010