Jeff Zucker: ‘At the End of the Day Jay at 10 O’clock Didn’t Work, and I Take Responsibility for That’

By Chris Ariens 

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The NYTimes’ Tim Arango sat down with NBCU president Jeff Zucker Friday — the end of a week during which his network’s late-night misfortune, and his running of the 84-year-old company, became the news. The story appears on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper.

Zucker admits affiliate pressure ultimately brought an end to “The Jay Leno Show.”

In early January he got a call from his entertainment chief Jeff Gaspin who’d been hearing from restless NBC stations. “It was becoming tough to deal with,” Zucker said. “The pressure from the affiliate body was strong.”

“At the end of the day Jay at 10 o’clock didn’t work. And I take responsibility for that.”

But Zucker was not alone in his 30 Rock office during the interview. One of NBC’s most successful — and well-liked — executives was there too, standing up for his boss:

At the end of the interview in Mr. Zucker’s office, Steve Capus, the head of NBC News, spoke up strongly on behalf of his boss, saying the news media had blown the late-night ordeal “out of proportion,” especially, he said, in light of more important stories like the tragedy in Haiti. “He is paying a price that is so out of whack with what is happening here,” he said.