NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker’s Departure: How the Business Networks Covered It

By Alex Weprin 

Bloomberg, CNBC and Fox Business Network all covered the announcement that NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker would step down once Comcast completed its acquisition of the company.

Two of the networks delivered particularly interesting coverage: CNBC and FBN.

CNBC reported the news at almost the exact same time the New York Times posted its story this morning. Then later in the day, David Faber appeared, and was asked what Zucker’s legacy would be:

The growth of the cable networks, undoubtedly like our own. At the end of the day, in reporting of course on the Comcast transaction As I did for so many days for almost a year ago, when the speculation at least began, their focus was always on the cable networks owned by NBC Universal. There’s no doubt they grew enormously under the stewardship of Mr. Zucker. Whether it’s CNBC or Bravo or USA, many of those networks are producing prodigious amounts of cash flow.

On FBN, former CNBCer Charlie Gasparino (who was never turned down an opportunity to discuss his old network), talked about a possible change in reporting lines between NBC News president Steve Capus and CNBC chief Mark Hoffman:

Steve Burke, [COO] at Comcast is expected to take Zucker’s place at NBC. That has not been announced, but everybody inside NBC, and I speak to them, I speak to senior people, expect him to take Zucker’s place. What happens comes after that is really interesting. NBC’s reporting lines as of now are not changed. That may be true. But sources tell Fox Business Network that his exit leaves as a there is a power struggle for key roles inside that organization, and that power struggle is beginning right now. Steve Capus, the NBC News president, from what I understand could be elevated. That creates a power struggle. This is for the media navel gazers among us which we are, a power struggle between Steve and my old boss, Mark Hoffman, who are not particularly fond of each other. It is interesting those two executives are at loggerheads. Hoffman is telling people right now he is not going to report to Capus. His reporting line is directly to whoever takes Zucker’s place, which would be Steve Burke.

Gasparino also discussed what he thinks Zucker’s legacy will be:

Getting back to Zucker himself and his legacy, best thing you could say he had a very mixed performance. I had known the guy. bright guy, very smart. He was a visionary in some ways about the distribution of broadcast news and confluence of cable and the internet. However, if you look at the numbers, they really didn’t add up very well for him.

Discussion of Zucker and Klein’s departure has been largely absent from the three major cable news channels, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.