Date: 15th December 2000

Zucker Gets His Wish

Garth Ancier was ousted Thursday as president of NBC Entertainment, a move that had been expected for months following the failure of the network to develop a successful reality show or to produce new programming this season to attract new viewers. However, the announcement of his replacement, Today exec producer Jeff Zucker, 35, came as a surprise to many media watchers since Zucker has had virtually no past experience with entertainment programming. His admirers, however, would no doubt point out that he had little experience with news programming when he was named executive producer of the Today show nine years ago at the age of 26. However, he does have close entertainment connections: his wife, Caryn, is a producer on Saturday Night Live. Known as a man who indeed sweats the small stuff, Zucker reportedly runs a tight ship but is warmly regarded by his associates. In an interview with the Washington Post in Nov. 1998, Today show host Katie Couric remarked, "Without making it sound as if he's God, he's a real visionary. ... Not only does he have his finger on the pulse, he has his finger on what the pulse will be." (In the same article, former Today show producer Tom Capra forecast that Zucker would one day head a network entertainment division. Asked about that prediction then, Zucker responded, "I'd like to run something that's big and broken.")

Source: Studio Briefing