Jeff Zucker: (probably) doing just fine

jeffz.jpgThe new issue of Radar, on newsstands in a couple weeks, includes an article suggesting that Jeff Zucker might end up getting fired by GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. (The article subhead: ‘The fast rise and sudden decline of Jeff Zucker, the network smart-ass who went
from wunderkind to whipping boy in the billion-dollar blink of an eye.’) I don’t know exactly when Radar went to press, but I’m guessing it was sometime between September 21st and September 28th– in other words, after ‘My Name is Earl’ made its surprisingly strong debut, but before it even-more-surprisingly built on its audience in its second airing. (Most shows, even ones that end up being hits, decline ratings-wise between the premiere and the second episode because of the relative drop in publicity and media attention.) From the Radar piece:

[NBC’s] future, with or without Zucker, looks bleak at the moment. NBC’s fall schedule includes just six new prime-time shows, a timid response to last season’s catastrophic audience defection. Among them are the comedy-with-heart My Name Is Earl, a critics’ darling that premiered to strong ratings (then again, so did Whoopi)…

NBC is hardly out of the woods yet, especially given the decline of the Apprentice franchise, but it’s hard to imagine that Zucker would get fired right after launching what seems to be the first new water-cooler-status network comedy in nearly a decade. So: Radar, wrong; Kurt Andersen, right, as usual.