Photo: WSJ YouTube screencap
After rampant rumours, CNN has just announced that former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker will replace Jim Walton as President of CNN Worldwide.”Jeff’s experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success,” said Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System, CNN’s parent company. “In a career that has seen significant professional success in both broadcast and cable, Jeff has demonstrated his ability to run multiple lines of business and fiercely defend journalists and journalism.”
Zucker, who currently serves as executive producer on Katie Couric’s new daytime talk show, will succeed Walton, who has been in the post since 2003, in the new year.
Zucker released a statement of his own, saying “I am thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN. The global reach and scale of the CNN brand is unparalleled in all of news. Outside of my family and the Miami Dolphins, there is nothing I am as passionate about as journalism.”
As president, Zucker will oversee 23 branded news and information businesses, including the CNN network, CNN International, HLN, CNN Digital and CNN.com that reach more than 2 billion people in some 200 countries around the world..
Zucker began his career at NBC, where he quickly rose through the ranks to become executive producer of the “Today” show at age 26 in 1992, making it the most profitable show on television.
CNN execs hope Zucker can revitalize the struggling news network, as CNN has fallen behind partisan rivals like Fox News and MSNBC as it aspires to remain neutral.
On Wednesday, Time WarnerChairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes told Business Insider’s Henry Blodget, “It’s not as much about ratings as reporting … I think it’s going to be one of the fastest growing networks in the country in the next few years.”
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