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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Walton’

Jim Walton Sends Farewell Memo To Staff

After 31 years with the company, today is Jim Walton‘s last day as the president of CNN Worldwide. Come early next year, Jeff Zucker will step in as his replacement.

Walton sent a note to CNN staff this morning reflecting on the last three decades, and thanking those at CNN who made sacrifices–both professional and personal.

When I was named president in 2003, CNN’s financial health was dire. We will finish 2012 with nine consecutive years of profit growth, and CNN profits this year will be more than three times greater than they were in ’03. From warring nations to natural disasters and national elections, our reporting this year has been timely, accurate and essential to more people on more platforms than at any other time in our history…

Jeff Zucker is a great leader for CNN’s next chapter. You are lucky to get him. But not as lucky as he is to be getting you.

Walton’s full memo is after the jump.

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It’s Official: Jeff Zucker Named President Of CNN Worldwide

Time Warner has made it official: former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker will be the new president of CNN Worldwide, replacing outgoing president Jim Walton.

Zucker will take the reins in January. We gave the rundown on Zucker’s background earlier this week. The short version: he was a news prodigy at NBC, fumbled when he took over entertainment, but had success with the company’s cable channels as CEO. He left when Comcast acquired NBCU last year, and is most recently the EP of syndicated talker “Katie.”

Zucker will be based in New York, a stark departure for the channel, which has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

In a note to CNN staffers, Turner Broadcasting chairman Phil Kent wrote:

“I picked Jeff because of his extensive experience and track record in broadcast and cable news, his passion for the news business and his strong belief, which I share, that the best days of CNN lie ahead if we create news programming on each of our platforms that delivers on the core values of the CNN brand: accuracy, immediacy and offering all perspectives through great reporting, analysis, explanation and presentation.”

Kent’s memo to staff is after the jump, along with CNN’s official announcement.
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Jeff Zucker In Advanced Talks To Take Over CNN Worldwide

Former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker is in talks to become president of CNN Worldwide, someone close to Zucker tells TVNewser. Zucker would replace Jim Walton, who announced last summer that he’d be leaving the company at the end of the year.

The news of the advanced stage of the talks was first reported by the Los Angeles TimesJoe Flint, and the New York TimesBrian Stelter.

Zucker began his career as a prodigy at NBC News. He became executive producer of “Today” at age 27, and would go on to oversee “NBC Nightly News” before taking over the network’s entertainment division, and eventually the whole place. He left in 2011 after Comcast completed its acquisition of NBC.

He would go on to serve as EP of syndicated talker “Katie,” but is leaving the show at the end of this year. In October, Flint laid out a number of reasons why Zucker would not make sense for CNN. The Powers That Be were apparently not that concerned.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes–who is leading the search to find Walton’s successor — will be speaking at the Ignite media conference tomorrow afternoon. TVNewser will be there to report on what he says regarding the news.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes Inks New Long-Term Deal

Time Warner has signed CEO Jeff Bewkes to a new, long-term contract with the company, keeping the executive in the CEO position until at least 2017. Bewkes is in the final phase of choosing who the next president of CNN Worldwide will be when Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year.

Whoever CNN’s next leader is, the deal ensures that Bewkes will be making the final calls for years to come. He has been CEO of the media conglomerate since 2008, and before that was CEO of HBO before moving up the corporate food chain. In addition to CNN and HBO, Time Warner owns TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Warner Bros. and Time Inc.

“Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, we are very pleased that Jeff has signed on to lead Time Warner for another five years,” said Stephen F. Bollenbach, Lead Independent Director of the Time Warner Board of Directors in a statement. “Jeff is a proven visionary when it comes to navigating the digital landscape. Since becoming CEO in 2008 he has led the transformation of the Company into a content-focused powerhouse while at the same time significantly increasing shareholder value.”

Did Roger Ailes Consider Joining CNN?

Over the summer Roger Ailes was sitting on his terrace at his home along the Hudson River, reading a book on the Civil War, when he decided his fight wasn’t finished. Last month Ailes, 72, who created Fox News 16 years ago, signed on for another four years as CEO. In a wide-ranging interview in his office Thursday he told us why.

“Too much pressure on me to leave. Too many people who’d been happy if I left, finally pissed me off,” says Ailes. “If everbody’d shut up I probably would have quietly gone off.”

Ailes says beyond his critics, his passion for journalism — not politics — helped his decision.

“They actually are what they accuse me of being,” says Ailes of his detractors. “They think I’m a political animal. I understand my politics and I understand their politics better than they do.”

Ailes was also sparked by what he experienced at a Washington journalists’ dinner. “When I saw the President say, ‘I know you all voted for me,’ and a thousand people stood up and cheered and applauded and then when the applause died down, he said, ‘Oh probably except you guys at the Fox table.’ I thought, ‘Am I the only guy in this room doing his job?’ They set up Freedom of the Press. The press is supposed to watch the powerful. And not throw in with them. And when I watched a thousand people stand and cheer and applaud I thought, ‘Uh oh. Somebody better do this job.’”

People write that I hate journalists or I hate the media or that I’m always in a fight with them, or whatever. It’s entirely wrong. I expect more of them. I expect them to rise to the occasion. Why in the hell did the Founding Fathers only protect one business. They didn’t protect hairdressers, they didn’t protect car salesmen, they protected the press. They said you can’t screw around with the press. My God, if you knew that your job was protected by Thomas Jefferson, wouldn’t you have a little more honor about how you did it?

As he was deciding whether to stay on with Fox, Jim Walton announced he’d be leaving the top job at CNN. We asked Ailes:

TVNewser: When you were thinking about whether you were going to stay on with another contract, the CNN Worldwide job came open. Did that ever cross your mind, did anyone from Time Warner reach out to you?

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Former Dick Clark CEO Mark Shapiro In Running For Top CNN Gig

Former ESPN programming executive and Dick Clark Productions CEO Mark Shapiro has emerged as one of the contenders for the top job at CNN, a source in the agent community confirmed to TVNewser. The news was first reported by the well-sourced Joe Flint in the Los Angeles Times.

Shapiro was a powerful programming executive at ESPN, and helped launch what became ESPN’s top original program ”Pardon The Interruption.” He also was the man responsible for putting conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on the “NFL Countdown” pregame show. He joined Dick Clark Productions as CEO in May, 2010, and left earlier this year when the company was sold to Guggenheim Partners. Dick Clark Productions specializes in producing live event programming, like “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” The Golden Globe Awards and the American music Awards.

As Flint notes, Shapiro does not have a background in “hard news,”

However, Shapiro has strong production chops from his days at ESPN, which has its own large news division. He is seen as an innovative executive unafraid to take chances. He also is known for having sharp elbows and for being confrontational at times with talent and other executives.

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Jeff Zucker To CNN: The Argument Against

Earlier we noted how former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker is preparing to leave the syndicated talker “Katie,” which he currently EPs.

We also noted that Zucker is on the (public) short list of names to replace Jim Walton at CNN Worldwide. In the LA Times, Joe Flint lays out why that probably won’t happen. There are  a lot of reasons why Zucker is unlikely to get the CNN job, but a significant one is that the job might simply be too small for the executive:

Currently, CNN is part of Turner Broadcasting, which is run by Phil Kent, a low-key executive who avoids the spotlight as much as Zucker embraces it. If Zucker is running CNN, he would in theory report to Kent. Would that fly with Zucker? In his old life he reported to the chief executive of General Electric. If he took CNN he might want a direct line to Time Warner Chief Jeff Bewkes. See, this is starting to get complicated.

Report: Jeff Zucker Eyes Exit From ‘Katie’

Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva reports that Jeff Zucker is eyeing an exit from the syndicated talker “Katie,” hosted by Katie Couric. Zucker helped launch the show as its executive producer, and owns a significant financial stake in the enterprise.

“I hear talks with potential candidates are under way, and a hire is expected within the next couple of weeks,” Andreeva reports.

Zucker is one of the names being bandied about to replace Jim Walton at CNN Worldwide. The fact that he is looking to exit the syndicated talk show could be a sign that a new job is on the horizon for the former CEO of NBC Universal.

Media Moguls Meal: Jeff Bewkes And Roger Ailes Grab Lunch

The Wall Street Journal has a gossipy item this afternoon, reporting that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes grabbed lunch earlier this year.

Bewkes is looking for a successor to Jim Walton at CNN, who will be stepping aside at the end of this year. Ailes meanwhile has a contract of his own coming up for renewal next year.

The WSJ notes that the lunch was purely social, and that Bewkes has no plans to hire Ailes. But that didn’t stop the News Corp. newspaper from writing the item.

Howard Stringer, Jeff Zucker Among Those Considered For Top CNN Post

CNN is still actively searching for its new worldwide president, who will replace Jim Walton when he steps down at the end of the year. As we have noted before, former “Today” EP and NBC universal CEO Jeff Zucker is one of the names being considered. The New York Post‘s Claire Atkinson has a few more today.

Among them: former CBS News president and Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer (pictured right), former NBC news president and current WNYC CEO Neal Shapiro and former ABC News chief David Westin.

“We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections,” said one CNN insider. “Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission.

“We need our Roger Ailes,” the source said, referring to the chief of Fox News, which toppled ratings leader CNN years ago and has since widened its lead.

Time Warner execs are also getting help internally. Sources say HBO boss Richard Plepler is playing a key role in advising Bewkes.