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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Zucker’

Meg Ryan and Judith Regan “Below the Radar” on Table One

1003_mockup.gifThe spring power lunch season has officially begun at Michael’s with plenty of famous faces and talking heads (Charles Grodin, Star Jones, Lawrence O’Donnell) mixed in with the usual suspects today. None other than Meg Ryan turned up with Judith Regan and slipped in practically unnoticed. Ah, but it’s my job to tell you these things.

In the ‘six degrees of separation’ world that is the dining room at 55th and Fifth, Judith and I grew up in the same hometown of Bay Shore on Long Island. Her mother was often my substitute teacher in high school, and we’ve always had interesting chats whenever our paths have crossed. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the famously fiery ex-book publisher and she told me she’s adapted a new approach of “staying well below the radar” while working on her Sirius XM show. “No one even knows where I live,” she said. I knew better than to question the strategy of staying out of the limelight by sitting at Table One on a Wednesday at Michael’s, so we talked about mutual friends and exchanged pleasantries about our families. When Meg showed up, she couldn’t have been nicer as we chatted about our daughters who we adopted from China the same year, are the same age and both wear glasses. (Sorry, but it’s all OTR.) Later, on the way out, we talked a bit more and I suspected she had plenty more to say on the subject but didn’t want to get caught it the crush of folks lining up for their coats. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

I was joined today by Stu Zakim, public relations vet and “transformational executive” (How’s that for a title?) Mike Berman. Stu, a veteran marketing guru who has helped shaped the image of Showtime, Universal Pictures and Wenner Media, struck out on his own in 2010 with his own firm, Bridge Strategic Communications. His current clients include the Montclair Film Festival, now in its second year, and Mike, a turnaround specialist and business blogger who dispenses straightforward strategies on his blog, Berman Means Business. Stu has been working with Mike since last fall to extend the reach of his no-nonsense messaging espousing a holistic approach to building businesses. With recent headlines on media mash-ups and corporate meltdowns, we had plenty to talk about. Since Mike penned his first piece for CNBC’s website entitled “Five Turnaround Tips for Ron Johnson, JC Penney and Others” earlier this week, I thought a discussion about JCP’s embattled CEO was a good place to start. In a nutshell, says Mike, Johnson “was set up to fail — he can’t fix Penney’s.”

Mike Berman, Diane Clehane and Stu Zakim

He explains, “What’s happening with Ron Johnson is a metaphor for what’s wrong with business today. You can’t hire a rock star as if he’s just come down from the mountain top with the solution to every problem. No one person is able to do what he’s saying he can do.” According to Mike, Johnson’s first mistake was expecting an already beaten down team to buy into widespread change without first stabilizing the organization and clearly articulating a long term vision for the future. Letting 10,000 people go among a shell-shocked workforce didn’t help matters, either. “In the classic turnaround, you can be a hero by coming in and reducing staff, closing under performing stores or factories for the short-term, but in the long-term that doesn’t create value and kills the economy. Executives have to ask themselves, ‘How can I make sacrifices for the benefit of the entity?” Because so many companies rely on the slash-and-burn strategy as an immediate solution to stem the bleeding of their bottom line, Mike tells me he no longer works on “classic turnarounds” because he finds them “totally souless.” Now there’s something you don’t hear every day.

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Being Jeff Zucker | Phoenix Shooting | Catching Up with Cody

TVNewser: New CNN chief Jeff Zucker is already putting his footprint on the network. The ink is barely dry on the contracts, but the pundits and critics are forming opinions about his long tenure in cable news.

TVSpy: There was another example of gun violence drawing attention, as television stations went wall-to-wall with a Phoenix office shooting. Police said five people were injured.

FishbowlLA: Diablo Cody (left), the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno, opens up to FBLA exclusively about returning from her motherhood hiatus.

 

Shaky Deck | Loud and Clear | Moving On

AllTwitter: If the people at TweetDeck don’t get their act together it will be shut down and users (like us) will have to find another Twitter client. If we have to find another one we will whine, so hopefully the TweetDeck execs understand the consequences.

AllFacebook: Wes Welker, star receiver for the New England Patriots, has a very opinionated wife.

FishbowlDC: Jeff Zucker tells CNN staffers to “Not be bound by what has come before us.” We think he’s referring to the countless mistakes the network has made, but we could be wrong.

Early Edition | Smart Start | Zuck to The Future

AppNewser: Want your Hearst magazine before it hits newsstands? Grab an iPad.

UnBeige: Betsey Johnson crafted an apron when she was just four years old. If you think that makes her better than you, you’re right.

TVNewser: Jeff Zucker is already making his mark on CNN. Everyone freak out!

Where Do The Young Turks Go from Here?

As The Young Turks‘ tireless host Cenk Uygur reminded this week in the aftermath of the acquisition of Current TV by Al Jazeera, a key portion of the enterprise is not part of the deal. The separate online half of the weekday political analysis program is independently produced and contracted, free to move on to greener Internet pastures in the second quarter of 2012 once the Current run comes to an official end.

Which begs the questions: Where might the TYT Network wind up? And what kind of future does the TV incarnation have? With Jeff Zucker jumping into the CNN executive suite and people like Jake Tapper joining that network’s correspondent ranks, perhaps the online version of TYT could somehow fit into a remolded version of the Atlanta cable giant’s website.

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Talk It Out | Discussing The Dynamic Duo | Car Wish

TVNewser: There’s a rumor floating around that Jeff Zucker is considering Erin Burnett for the CNN morning slot. Start thinking of complaints now, so you’re good and ready should it ever happen.

FishbowlDC: Colby Hall enjoys tweeting about Lindsay Lohan’s breasts. When asked for a reaction, the actress’ breasts had no comment.

LostRemote: Jimmy Fallon is trying to make Lincoln car commercial’s less terrible.

Odd Direction | Battle of The Babes | Memory Time

TVNewser: Jeff Zucker, the brand new head of CNN, said his vision for the network is to “broaden the definition of what news is.” Uh-oh.

FishbowlDC: A Politico reporter spars with a HuffPost reporter on Twitter in an effort to prove that grown men are still fully capable of acting like babies.

FishbowlLA: Nikki Finke takes a stroll down Newsweek memory lane.

Jeff Zucker to Become President of CNN

Jeff Zucker is getting another shot at running a network. Zucker, the former CEO of NBC Universal, is going to be named the new president of CNN soon, according to TVNewser. At CNN, Zucker will succeed Jim Walton, who announced he was leaving the company earlier this year.

According to the New York Times, Zucker has been the lead candidate throughout the four month search for Walton’s successor. If given the job, Zucker would be tasked with turning around a much-maligned network. Though CNN continually rakes in lots of cash, the brand itself is ridiculed as directionless at best and amateurish at worst.

Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner and the man who will eventually name the new head of CNN, is speaking today at a conference. TVNewser will be there, so be sure to check them out for updates later today.

Game Change Premiere Hits NYC

Julianne Moore, Tom Hanks
Julianne Moore and Tom Hanks (Credit: StarPix)

Game Change, HBO’s much buzzed-about film based on the 2008 presidential election and the 2010 book of the same name, held its premiere party at Ziegfeld Theatre last night.

Just a few of the celebs FishbowlNY spotted in attendance and on the red carpet: Julianne Moore, who does a spot-on, yet subtle portrayal of Sarah Palin; Sarah Paulson, who plays senior McCain campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace; the film’s executive producer, Tom Hanks, and his wife Rita WilsonJeff ZuckerArianna HuffingtonMonster’s Ball producer Lee Daniels; and just about every political pundit in town.

Unlike the book, which focused on all the candidates in the election, the movie zeroes in on John McCain‘s choice (or should we say, his advisers’ decision) to pick Palin as his running mate. And, while many are praising Moore for the way she humanized the Alaskan governor, Ed Harris brought his A-game too. Everything from his mannerisms to his posture were so McCain-like, it was eerie.

Game Change premieres this Saturday, March 10 on HBO. If you don’t mind a spoiler, head over to our sister blog TVNewser for a full review and peep more photos from the event after the jump.

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Tom Brokaw, Vernon Jordan and the Shy Divorcee

1003_mockup.gifIt was SRO at Michael’s today. The dining room was so jam packed every sqaure inch was occupied by a mogul (Mel Karmazin!), media heavyweight (Tom Brokaw, Jon Meacham, Jeff Zucker), or social swan (divorcee of the moment, Mercedes Bass who moved to the Garden Room with pal Lynn Nesbitt when the decibel level and fabulousness of it all got to be too much).  Just a thought: if you’re looking for a quiet, out of the way lunch spot, you might want to consider going somewhere else on Wednesday.

I was joined today by Forbes‘ new editor, Randall Lane. In his new position, Randall is presiding over familiar territory to him: the lives of the ridiculously rich and ambitious. In a previous life, he was the editor of Trader Monthly which chronicled the age of excess of the Wall Streeter of days gone by.  That experience later provided plenty of fodder for his book, The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade When Wall Street Went Insane. In the interim, he’s been an editor at large for Newsweek and written for The Daily Beast. Having worked with him years ago when he was the editor in chief on the startup Justice, which covered the hot trials and legal issues of the day, I was thrilled when I heard he’d gotten the top job at Forbes back in September.

Randall first worked at Forbes fresh out of college in the nineties and spent six years “chasing rich people” and working on the franchise’s venerated power lists which required (and still do) hundreds of hours of research and manpower. “In some ways, it feels like I never left,” he tells me.

Diane Clehane and Randall Lane
Randall Lane and yours truly

Since taking the helm, Randall has been on a mission to make the book more visually exciting with interesting photography (the arresting cover image of Bill Gates in the “World’s 70 Most Powerful People” issue is a winner), fresh design elements courtesy of the Brooklyn-based shop Athletics, a livelier front of book section and more in-depth profiles on people the Forbes reader wants to know about.  Exhibit A: The cover story in the November 7 issue on Dropbox’s Drew Houston, the 28 year-old mogul who turned down Steve Jobs and is now worth $600 million which drew one million hits on Forbes.com.

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