Jeff Zucker to leave post as chief of NBC/Universal

jeff-zuckerImage Credit: Ben Hider/Getty ImagesIn what has been predicted for months, Jeff Zucker announced his decision to leave NBC/Universal once the takeover by Comcast is complete. In an email to staff this morning, Zucker acknowledged that “it has not been an easy or a simple decision” to leave the media company, but “it is clear to me that this is the right decision for me and for the company.”

“Comcast will be a great new steward, just as GE has been, and they deserve the chance to implement their own vision,” Zucker wrote. “I am proud that they will inherit a company in very good shape, with almost every one of our divisions enjoying their best year ever.”

Zucker’s job has been in question ever since Comcast agreed to purchase the media company back in December (the deal is expected to close at the end of the year). Though Zucker’s time at NBC was highlighted by many victories – like turning The Today Show into a powerful cash cow, building the company’s cable nets like Bravo, USA, Oxygen and CNBC, and creating the now heavily-used Hulu – it was also overshadowed by colossal failures, like moving Jay Leno to prime time and paying Conan O’Brien some $40 million to leave NBC. He also was responsible for some major staffing blunders, like pushing out Kevin Reilly – who’s now running Fox and is responsible for Glee, the highest-rated show on TV right now among adults 18-49 – and hiring the inexperienced Ben Silverman to run the network. The former agent’s tenure didn’t even last two years at NBC.

Though the Peacock is still home to some of the most critically-lauded shows on TV, its been years since the network enjoyed the kind of success it once had during those heady Must See TV days – a weakness that was often attributed to Zucker’s reign as entertainment president and later as the company’s CEO.  NBC is currently in fourth place among adults 18-49 (2.7 rating/7 share) and total viewers (7.5 million).

In his email to staff, Zucker appeared particularly conflicted about leaving “the only place I have ever worked.” “I have spent my entire adult life here, more than 24 years. The only professional thing I have ever known. I met my wife here, enjoyed the birth of our four children in that time, worked in almost every division of the company, and forged relationships both professional and personal that will last a lifetime.

“I don’t know yet what my future will bring … I haven’t even begun to think about the next chapter…I love NBC Universal and always will.”

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  • mark in nyc

    This is possibly the best newes NBC has had in the last ten years.
    From the Leno to Rex is my lawyer…he has been Zucking up the network for years.
    Goodbye and good riddance.

    • Josh

      let’s see you do his job, girl

      • mark in nyc

        wow…would love to…um troll? idiot? loser? what disparaging remark is appropriate in this situation?
        Oh….tween girly man!

      • jerry

        Nobody could do job any worse. He destroyed the network just to steward his left wing causes. Comcast got a corpse of the business. Could they revive it is a really big question.

      • Mel

        I didn’t read any where in there that mark thought he could do the job. But the fact is Zucker should have been able to do a better job. The only thing I watch on NBC is Community.

    • ger

      And if anyone knows little it’s you, Josh

    • LOL

      About time. NBC is in the crapper. How many mistakes can one person make? “I’m with Coco!”

    • Rafe

      Josh you need to get a life mate.

    • thin

      Sounds like he needs to get himself a boyfriend.

  • Sarah

    Hopefully this will bring good things to NBC.

  • carrie

    this man was the prototype for “sinking to the top” – he took so much down with him – of course, he doesn’t want to leave because No One will hire a confirmed loser/player

    • Shelby

      Wrong. He’ll get a fat severance and a cushy exec job in a week. It’s the American way!

      • Kirsten

        If nothing else, look for him to lead the Today Show for the third time if they lose their head any time soon. That’s one thing he did do really well – the Today Show was great when he was in charge.

  • PK

    This guy turned the most successful network into the weakest outside of the CW… so of course he lasted for years.

    He’s an example of everything that’s wrong with big business.

    Now they just need to get rid of Dick Ebersol.

    • SN

      amen to that…why keep the guy who thought larry david was not funny enough?

    • Mel

      AMEN! Not being able to watch the Pens on the big screen is just LAME.

      • Casey

        Lame indeed.

  • Amanda

    Please take Jay Leno with you.

    • PMD

      Yes!!! Last night I realised that the Tonight Show was on in the background – after recording the shows it just stayed on that channel. I was soooo pissed off, I changed it immediately to David Letterman – I want no part in giving Mr. Leno any ratings.

    • RyRyNYC

      TOO BAD Leno has better ratings than most of NBC’s prime time schedule. The Leno hate is sooo old.

      • ger

        Not as old as his audience

  • Skippy

    COCO HAS BEEN AVENGED, F**K NBC AND ZUCKER!

  • Lobo

    Jeff Zucker looks like a giant thumb that someone painted a face onto.

    • Amanda

      OMG, I can see it.

  • dj chrisman

    Yeah, Zucker screwed up big time. He went down on a sinking ship known as NBC.

  • Pericolo

    At last our long national nightmare is over. He was wonderful as the executive producer of Today and it has been downhill since then.

  • redvector

    He looks more like a giant penis that somebody photoshoped a face onto.

  • Alex

    Hmph. Wish he would have stepped down before January.

  • john mulder

    Perhaps Jeff should have read ” the first american dictator” to see where this country could head. It’s available on Amazon.com.

  • ab

    Whose NBC, I think I have never watched that?

  • peony

    Zucker has been a nightmare. Good riddance.

    I echo whoever above said they’re hoping Ebersol is next.

  • michigan

    I’m older than the key demographic they can’t seem to get (18-49) and even I don’t watch a single thing on that crap network. If they continue with their far left wing news network, thay will continue to lose viewers of all ages.

    • Dan

      umm… you think that NBC is far left…okay…

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