Former NBC chief Jeff Zucker and Katie Couric have a long TV history together—but it may soon be coming to an end.After Zucker first executive produced the “Today” show throughout Couric’s tenure and then followed the TV veteran to “Katie” as EP of her new syndicated daytime talk show.
But Zucker may soon be making moves elsewhere, as “Katie” is currently looking to hire a top level producer “within the next couple of weeks,” reports Deadline.
“There has been chatter about Zucker being courted for several top jobs, including CEO of Tribune, but attention has focused recently on the vacancy at CNN,” according to Deadline. “With his strong news background, Zucker is considered a leading candidate to succeed CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton when he departs at the end of the year.”
And it may not just be chatter, as the New York Post reported back in June that “Several news business high-ups say one name being floated internally to come in and revive CNN ratings is Jeff Zucker, the former NBCUniversal boss. Zucker is friendly with both [Time Warner CEO Jeff] Bewkes and corporate adviser, Gary Ginsberg. The Zucker prospect has rattled some in the executive ranks.”
If Zucker gets the CNN gig, the timing would work well for “Katie,” providing an easy transition on the show which has a two-year deal with ABC stations.
And Zucker has interest in making sure the transition goes smoothly, as well.
“Zucker has a major financial interest in ‘Katie’ (some sources indicate he is poised to pocket $8 million from the $20 million guarantee to Couric and him), and is not likely to leave without a succession plan in place,” according to Deadline. “But, having run one of the biggest media companies in the world, NBC Universal, he has been expected to jump back to the executive ranks.”
While “Katie” is getting the best ratings of any new talk show, Couric has yet to beat the likes of Rachael Ray or Ellen DeGeneres in the ratings race and, according to a new report, has the highest median age of all syndicated talk shows on TV—age 60.
CNN has also seen an all-time ratings low recently, but is currently in the midst of trying to boost viewership with a new documentary division as well as original content from filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and TV chef Anthony Bourdain.
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