In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, NBCU TV group president Jeff Zucker talks about ‘Today:’
|Many predicted GMA would get closer to Today based on the strength of ABC’s prime time lineup — and that’s not the case. How have they pulled it off?
The Today show has pulled away surprisingly strongly. The race isn’t close at all. I know it’s not a sexy story to report, but the Today show is basically as dominant today as it has been in many years.
So is the franchise bigger than Katie Couric?
I’ve said this forever — I’ve always believed the Today show is more than the sum of its parts. Nobody stays forever, and I don’t mean you to read anything into what I’m saying. At some point, Katie will move on, and so will Matt and Al and Ann, just as Tom Brokaw and Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel did, and each time the Today show remained incredibly vibrant and strong. The show is in a complete zone right now, and I feel as confident about it today as I ever have.
Do you think Katie is going to leave?
I certainly hope that she doesn’t.
Is this a good time for her to try something new?
I won’t talk for Katie. Obviously, she will make her decision in due time. This is all incredibly speculative at this time. There is nothing imminent.
> Update: 10:40pm: An e-mailer responds: “You’ve got to love Jeff Zucker’s arrogance and chutzpah. He fired a news division president and an executive producer because of GMA’s surge and TODAY’s collapse. And even though TODAY has declined season to season, and GMA is growing strong, he insists that all is well and the show is stronger than ever. Everyone knows TODAY’s audience has declined sharply in the last 7 years while GMA’s has grown significantly. But with his prime time schedule down another disastrous 17 percent this year after the previous year’s collapse of another 17 percent, he’s got brag about something. Zucker’s phoney euphoria about TODAY sounds more like a condemned man who has been given of stay of execution…”