Repeat after us: Giant companies aren’t always bad. Especially when they use some of their overflowing money stash’s for the greater good. News Corporation, Viacom, The Walt Disney Company and NBC Universal are doing their part, as they’ve all pledged donations to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Rupert Murdoch got things going by pledging one million from News Corporation. “Newscorp giving $1million to help families in NY and NJ badly hurt by Sandy,” Murdoch tweeted. “Hope other companies will do same.”
Viacom is donating $1 million, half to the Mayor’s Fund for NYC and half to local organizations that are helping Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester County get back on their feet. Disney is also splitting its $2 million donation; half will go to the Red Cross and the other million to assorted charities.
NBC Universal is taking a slightly different route, as it plans to air a fundraising special Friday night at 8 p.m. Matt Lauer will host the program, which will feature performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Sting.
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With the news of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowskigiving the nod to Comcast acquiring NBC Universal breaking today, we thought we’d give outgoing NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker one last shout out. The Hollywood Reporter obtained Zucker’s letter to NBC Universal staffers, and surprisingly he doesn’t say anything like “Hey, my bad about that whole Leno and Conan thing which completely ruined our company, but have a good holiday! Well, those of you that will still have a job after Comcast takes over.”
NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker made an appearance last night on “Charlie Rose,” for a 30-minute interview that mainly focused on the company’s late night network TV debacle.
Opening the interview, Charlie Rose described NBC as “in shambles” five years after Zucker was promoted from executive producer at NBC News. Zucker took issue with that description:
“I think that’s a little unfair to the fantastic folks who work at NBC. The fact is, NBC Entertainment has had a rough run the last five years. There’s no question about it. We haven’t done well enough…And we have to do better. And we have to find bigger, broader, better shows. And the truth is, that really has defined NBC and NBC Universal and I think that’s what so unfortunate for the 30,000 employees who work at NBC Universal…the fact that our failure to do better at NBC Entertainment has unfortunately defined us.”
Zucker went on to say that while NBC Entertainment is only responsible for about five percent of NBC Universal’s bottom line, it is also responsible for about “95 percent of our perception.”
Still, although he admitted NBC Entertainment could have done better programming in recent years, Zucker said he had no regrets about the whole Conan O’Brien-Jay Leno situation. He explained that had NBC not offered O’Brien the chance to take over the “Tonight Show” in 2004, he would have left the network then. And the same holds true for Leno last year, when they developed the plan to move him to prime time.
Zucker even described the idea of moving Leno to a half-hour show at 11:35 p.m. as a way to help O’Brien boost his own ratings, clearly not agreeing with O’Brien’s belief that such a move would mean certain death for the “Tonight Show” franchise.
“Leadership is about taking chances and taking risks,” he told Rose. “And also leadership is about acknowledging when they don’t work.”
Admitting the half-hour Leno show was “not perfect for anyone,” Zucker said he also had hoped that O’Brien would agree. “Not everything is going to work,” he concluded. “If we don’t try to do things differently, if we don’t try to take chances, then we know what the results of the status quo will be. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t.”
In her newly created position, Mirsky will be reporting to Real Simple managing editor Kristin van Ogtrop, who said, “Jennifer inherits an exceedingly strong realsimple.com team and a Web site that is growing robustly by the month. Her industry knowledge and expertise make Jennifer the ideal leader for taking realsimple.com to a whole new level.”
The new deal keeps Burke at Comcast for five more years, and he’ll oversee NBCU once the deal is completed. Burke, who is said to have helped orchestrate the NBCU deal, is earning $2.2 million a year plus a $3 million signing bonus, and he’ll “be eligible for two cash bonuses of $3 million each during the course of the contract,” Variety reported. He also earned $6 million in stock at the time of signing and will get $6 million more when the NBCU deal closes.
This year, those companies were imperiled, struggling to survive like many other companies around the world. But as print media disputed declarations that its days were numbered, these once-great companies that made their money from print pubs were fighting hard to keep their heads above water. In order to do that they made some decisions — like bringing in new investors, closing publications and selling them off. It was in no way a big year for media deals, but there were a few. Below, our list of the biggest business stories to come out of the New York media world this year.