Veteran news producer and former NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker will become the president of CNN Worldwide in January, the network announced Thursday.
“Jeff’s experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success,” said Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System, CNN’s parent company. “In a career that has seen significant professional success in both broadcast and cable, Jeff has demonstrated his ability to run multiple lines of business and fiercely defend journalists and journalism.”
Zucker succeeds Jim Walton who has headed CNN Worldwide since 2003. As president, Zucker will oversee 23 branded news and information businesses, including CNN’s U.S. television network, CNN International, HLN and CNN Digital. The latter includes CNN.com, one of the world’s leading news websites.
“I am thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN,” Zucker said in a statement. “The global reach and scale of the CNN brand is unparalleled in all of news. Outside of my family and the Miami Dolphins, there is nothing I am as passionate about as journalism.”
His first challenge is likely to be turning around CNN/US television ratings, which have been declining in recent years.
This is pretty much the move everyone’s expected for some time now.
Despite its dismal ratings, CNN remains a very profitable enterprise. So Zucker’s job will be to increase ratings without harming the prestige advertisers are willing to pay big bucks for.
Coming from NBC, there’s no question Zucker will do absolutely nothing to improve or remedy the networks’s left-wing bias. What Zucker could do, however, is dump the network’s many unpleasant personalities, starting with Soledad O’Brien, Ashleigh Banfield, Don Lemon, and Carol Costello.
I don’t care what your politics are — these four are deeply unpleasant to watch.