Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Reported Exit Deal for Jeff Zucker Reveals the NBC Way: Failure Pays

4 years ago
Add Comment Say Something  »
Print Text Size
What's the going price for driving down NBC's ratings? Between $30 and $45 million, it seems.

In January, the television network, which is owned by General Electric, paid late-night host Conan O'Brien $32.5 million to leave the network after an ugly feud over "The Tonight Show" spot. Now the New York Post is reporting that NBC is prepared to pay even more to CEO Jeff Zucker, whose three-year tenure at the top spot has been accompanied by tumbling ratings, as part of a generous exit package.

Zucker's reported golden parachute is part of a larger deal -- Comcast's bid to take over a majority interest of the network from General Electric and co-owner Vivendi, which still needs federal approval. The deal is expected to close early next year. Meanwhile, GE says the reports about Zucker's exit package are untrue.

It was Zucker's idea to move Leno to an earlier time slot and insert O'Brien into "The Tonight Show." Meanwhile, he's failed to introduce shows into the prime-time lineup that can draw ratings the way former NBC hits such as "Seinfeld," "Friends," and "ER" once did. Even with the boost from this year's Winter Olympics coverage, NBC's prime-time ratings this season were down 4 percent from last year with the key 18-49 demographic. And NBC trails CBS, Fox and ABC in the ratings among all prime-time viewers.

Given such a track record, many wonder how Zucker could have survived as long as he did in the top spot, let alone stand to be rewarded for his failures with a fat send-off check.

"For years there has been a commonly held theory that Jeff Zucker has a video of GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt cavorting with a goat, and he has threatened to put it on the air," writes comedian Andy Borowitz. "But I think this is a far-fetched theory, since Zucker has never put anything interesting on the air."
Filed Under: Surge Desk
Outbrain - The Most Trusted Content Discovery Platform

Get Your Content Discovered.

Promote your content on premium websites

Learn More ›

Outbrain Amplify:
Get your content discovered

Your content will be promoted on the web's largest and most respected media properties, including, Slate and ESPN. We make sure it's seen precisely when people will find it most interesting.

Learn More

Outbrain Engage: The solution for a modern publisher

Outbrain Engage is a full stack software solution that empowers an entire media organization to more effectively manage its online content and programming experience.

Learn More

The world's largest content discovery platform

We bring together premium publishers and marketers of all sizes (including many of the world's leading brands) into the world's largest and most vibrant content marketplace. Learn more about Outbrain ›

561 Million

The global audience reached by Outbrain each month*

190 Billion

The total recommendations we serve consumers monthly


Of the world’s leading brands use Outbrain

* Audience reach according to comScore, September 2014. Leading brands via Ad Age DataCenter / Kantar Media, 2014.

Andy Blau
We selected Outbrain not only because the revenues were higher than others, but because its engine drives better recommendations than others.
Andy Blau
Senior Vice President, Group General Manager
Time Inc.
Dan Horowitz
It's less about buying traffic than it is about reaching the right people with relevant headlines to get them to your content.
Dan Horowitz
EVP and Senior Partner
Fleishman-Hillard Digital
Katrina Craigwell
Our goal is always to deliver content that adds value to the conversations being held by the end user. Outbrain allows us to do just that.
Katrina Craigwell
Global Manager of Digital Marketing
Bailey Foote
The fact that we’re able to drive these kinds of transactions with consumers at scale and with increasing efficiency has made Outbrain paramount to our marketing strategy.
Bailey Foote
E-commerce Manager
The Line
Neal Moore
You cannot leave it to chance that someone will find and engage with your content. Outbrain can put your content in the midst of the world’s most prestigious publications.
Neal Moore
Zach Zavos
Having links to our content appearing directly on premium publisher sites helped us establish our brand.
Zach Zavos
Conversant Media
Mike Brito
Outbrain is one of those [critical] components helping us deliver the right messages to the right contingent at massive scale and in real time to counter a crisis.
Mike Brito
Group Director

A global footprint of service

We operate offices in 11 global territories and we partner with publishers and marketers in over 55 countries, including the U.S., UK, France, Brazil, India and Japan. Come join us ›

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.


Filter by:

NBC failure in the ratings is in part due to every program,including
law and order got political.I'm sure Zucker had a hand in that too.
Then GE rewards him.But then again GE is liberal too.

June 03 2010 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In my opinion, this is an attack on Jeff Immelt sterling character, and if I had written the
comments it would have been censored as this one too no doubt.

June 02 2010 at 1:05 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

zucker ruins the NBC media network & gets rewarded !!?

June 02 2010 at 12:07 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Meanwhile, the Fed gives GE millions of taxpayer dollars as payback for support of Obama. GE was always (at least, when I was their employee) a cash rich conglomerate, financing their own operations and benefit plans. Now, under Immelt, they need government assistance, yet, they can give millions to another failed executive? Hope the shareholders vote Immelt out as Ch of the Bd. The man cannot run a company of this size.

June 02 2010 at 11:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>