Jeff Zucker: ‘I’m Incredibly Comfortable’ With Keith Olbermann’s Program

jeffzucker09.16.08.jpgAt this morning’s Conde Nast Portfolio-organized breakfast, “The Impact of Today’s Economy on the Media M&A Landscape,” NBC president and CEO Jeff Zucker addressed Jeff Bercovici’s question that the growing perception that MSNBC is benefiting from a left-wing bias:

15 months ago, you wouldn’t have even asked me about MSNBC, so I think we’ve made great progress. At the end of the day, we’re talking about business. The fact is MSNBC in the last 12 months has been the fastest-growing cable channel in all of television, new or entertainment. So clearly, it has struck a chord with the audience. I think its programming has clearly worked.

A lot of the basis of your question really emanates from the tremendous emergence of Keith Olbermann’s program at 8 o’clock. I think I’m incredibly comfortable with that program. The network seeks, and does an incredible good job seeking, other points of view, but obviously Keith plays a major role in the voice, certainly in that hour and on the network. I think Keith’s emergence has been good for that network and I think just like a newspaper that has an editorial page that often has a different point a view, I think that is the role the Keith and others play on MSNBC, which for most of its day is the rest of the front section of the newspaper and then brings an editorial point of view from its editorial page at 8 o’clock at night.

What about those rumors concerning party boy Ben Silverman losing his job?

“From our perspective, there are no questions about Ben Silverman’s job security. From our perspective, he’s done everything we’ve asked and more. We are incredibly happy with the job he’s done and hope that he’ll be with us for a long time to come.”