It is a sign of how seriously CNN’s troubles are affecting the news broadcaster that it is NBC’s former CEO, Jeff Zucker, who is being tipped to take the president’s job in Atlanta, according to US press reports.
Zucker has a strong news background having masterminded, as exec-producer, NBC’s (usually) ratings winning Today show. In more recent times he followed the talent in the form of Today former co-host Katie Couric to CBS and her new incarnation as a syndicated talk-show host.
Time Warner-owned CNN is having the toughest of tough times as its ratings hit a 20 year low. Its current president Jim Walton announced this summer that he wanted to leave. CNN’s arch-rivals Fox News and MSNBC are now drawing more eyeballs and CNN is now regularly in third place behind the Fox and MSNBC.
However, if Zucker does shift from New York to Atlanta it will ruffle at least a few feathers. CNN’s (usually) collegial style of doing business. Zucker has a reputation for no-nonsense decision making, and one trade mag described his reputation as being somewhere midway between “smog and wildfires”. Few doubt that – if the gossip is confirmed – he’ll vigorously shake up the ailing network.