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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Burke’

Michael Wolff: ‘Fire Steve Burke’

Michael Wolff makes the case that “someone at NBC should be fired” over the ongoing talent sagas at both “Today” and “Tonight,” which have largely played out in the press. Wolff writes in USA Today that NBC Universal’s Steve Burke, who “wasn’t a network television guy” when he took over as CEO, has “has found himself in the middle of an old-fashioned network drama — and losing control of the plot”:

But television is a business all about the “talent.” And the talent must be massaged and handled and finessed. Directness is not necessarily a virtue. Beating around the bush is the skill — that is, wheeling and dealing and talking from both sides of your mouth. Or, if necessary, sometimes a dead-of-night attack will do. But the drawn-out considerations of men with no apparent human feelings, or at least not tact and charm, isn’t how you get by in television and avoid the firestorm of press and gossip that will ultimately make your decisions for you.

This is what people are starting to say: Maybe even GE was a better owner of NBC than Comcast.

And, don’t fire [Jay] Leno or [Matt] Lauer. Fire Steve Burke.

Why is Ari Emanuel Furious Over Innocuous ‘Rock Center’ Segment?

Hollywood mega-agent Ari Emanuel and his brothers Rahm Emanuel (the Mayor of Chicago) and Zeke Emanuel (a doctor and bioethicist) were interviewed on “Rock Center.” The segment itself was pretty innocuous, and the three brothers come out of it looking great.

Ari, however, didn’t think so. According to the New York Post, Emanuel sent a legal letter to NBC over the interview, and even confronted NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke about it during a taping of “Saturday Night Live.” He apparently thought that the questioning was too tough, though you wouldn’t know it from the final product:

NBC News Group Makes Ad Sales Pitch At Upfront

The NBC News Group, including NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC, held an upfront presentation today at the New York Public library in midtown Manhattan. The Celeste Bartos Forum in the Library was lit up in shades of purple and blue, as media buyers and advertisers mingled with NBC News executives and talent.

Newly-minted MSNBC 8 PM host Chris Hayes was there, as was Matt Lauer, the co-anchor of “Today” who has been at the center of a number of news stories of late. He seemed to take the stories in stride, joking with Savannah Guthrie onstage:

“I would like to tackle what might be a teeny white elephant in the room,” Lauer said to laughter from the crowd. “We all love covering the news,  we hate being the news, and so I would like to say on that subject–from the bottom of my heart–that I promise to spend all of my time and energy over the next several months trying to keep Savannah out of the headlines. ”

We want to go back to the most-watched morning program and the least talked about morning program,” he added.

Lauer sat next to NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke during the lunch, and “Today” was the final NBC News property pitched during the presentation, emphasizing how important the show is to the network.

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NBC News Group Chief: ‘The future is going to require collaboration’

The chairman of the NBC News Group, Pat Fili-Krushel, talks to Joe Flint at the LA Times about what’s ahead for NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC. There are a handful of clear priorities: fixing “Today,” finding a new president for NBC News leading the way.

“When you are No. 1, it’s easy to stop taking chances,” Fili-Krushel said [of "Today"]. “I think we just stopped innovating.”

Despite the concerns about the Lauer-Guthrie pairing, Fili-Krushel gave them a strong endorsement. “They are the ones who will take us back to No. 1,” the executive said.

Also on her list: making sure NBC News is digital-forward, and making sure that there is real, meaningful collaboration between the NBC, CNBC and MSNBC teams.
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Matt Lauer Speaks: How Katie Couric Almost Returned To ‘Today’

More than half a year after Ann Curry left the “Today” show, Matt Lauer opens up about exactly what happened behind the scenes. The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz spoke to Lauer, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke and former NBC News president Steve Capus about the decision.

The story paints the decision to remove Curry as a corporate one, and Lauer as valiantly trying to slow the process down. That said, Lauer acknowledged that their chemistry wasn’t great, and that he was reluctant about Curry before she officially became co-anchor. Curry had a guarantee in her contract that gave her the slot.

Then there was this bombshell about Katie Couric, now with ABC:

At the outset, though, Lauer would have preferred to anchor with someone else. Before Curry was formally promoted to co-host in 2011, Lauer quietly reached out to an old friend. He asked Katie Couric if she would be willing to return to Today, where they had ruled the time period for nearly a decade.

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Who’s In Line to Take Over at NBC News?

In his farewell note to staff, departing NBC News president Steve Capus writes, “I have much I hope to accomplish in the next phase of my career.” So, too, do the men and women vying to replace Capus. Capus says NBCU News group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel “will be meeting with people throughout the division, and articulating her vision for the NBCUniversal News Group.”

There are strong internal candidates, some of whom, it has been announced by Fili-Krushel, will take on additional duties. Alex Wallace (above, right), who oversees “Today,” and “Rock Center” will now oversee “Nightly News,” where she was once EP. Wallace, who’s been with NBC since 2005, would be the first female news president after nine men have held the job since 1968.

Phil Griffin will likely be considered for the job. As president of MSNBC for the last 4 and a half years he has given the network an identity and boosted ratings, consistently topping CNN — a network his close friend Jeff Zucker now runs. A front office and internal concern would be the progressive programming on the network, often not in line with NBC News standards. Mark Hoffman, president of CNBC, cannot be ruled out. Nor can Capus’ deputy, Antoine Sanfuentes, (above, left) who will run day-to-day in the interim.

External candidates are also plentiful…

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Two Years of Comcast and NBCUniversal. How’s it Going?

It’s been two years since Comcast acquired a controlling stake in NBCUniversal. So this morning, NBCU CEO Steve Burke sent a memo to staffers, highlighting four parts of the company that saw big growth in 2012. They are:

1. NBC TV
2. NBC Sports
3. NBC Owned Stations
4. Universal Parks

Burke did also highlight NBC News for its election and Hurricane Sandy coverage and cited MSNBC as one of the fastest growing cable networks, along with Mun2 and Golf. But another news network was left off Burke’s list: CNBC. The channel has seen better days in the ratings but still adds several hundred million dollars to NBCU’s bottom line.

Read Burke’s memo after the jump…

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Nanny Accused of Fatally Stabbing Two Children of CNBC Executive

Crime scene tape stretches across 75th St at Columbus Ave.

New York City Police are investigating a brutal double murder on Manhattan’s Upper West Side tonight. The New York Daily News reports the victims are two of the children of Kevin Krim, a CNBC Senior VP and General Manager of Digital. The children, 6-year-old Lucia Krim and 1-year-old Leo Krim, were stabbed to death by their nanny, who then turned the knife on herself. The New York Times reports:

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said that the mother, Marina Krim, had left her apartment a block from Central Park at 57 West 75th Street with one of her children, a 3-year-old girl. The two other children were left with the nanny, identified as Yoselyn Ortega, 50.

When Ms. Krim returned around 5:30 p.m., the commissioner said, she found a dark apartment. She went back down to the lobby to ask the doorman if he had seen the nanny and her children. When told that they had not left the building, she returned to the apartment. She turned the lights on in the bathroom and discovered her two children in the bathtub and the nanny unconscious on the floor.

Krim (right) joined CNBC in March from Bloomberg where he was head of Bloomberg Digital. More from the Times:

Ms. Krim had worked in California for a wholesaler of powders made from exotic fruits, like acai berries and pomegranates, according to her LinkedIn profile.

A neighbor said that in New York, Ms. Krim largely devoted her time to her children. This past year she taught a weekly early-childhood art class at the Hippo Playground Parkhouse on 91st Street.

> More: A joint statement from Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast, Steve Burke, CEO of NBCU and Mark Hoffman, CEO and president of CNBC:

A member of the CNBC family has suffered an unimaginable loss. The sadness that we all feel for Kevin, Marina and their family is without measure. Our thoughts, prayers and unwavering support are with them all.

“Today” show’s story Friday morning:

These Are The Politicians Big Media PACs Donate Campaign Funds To

Media companies are some of the most active companies in the country when it comes to lobbying politicians. A big part of lobbying is donating money to political campaigns. With the DNC and RNC right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to look and see which politicians the media companies have been donating to during the 2012 cycle through their PACs.

Some disclaimers: different companies donate different amounts of money through their respective PACs. Comcast gave over $2,000,000 this cycle, compared to CBS, which gave a relatively paltry $100,000. In addition, many of the recipients are, not surprisingly, members of the House and Senate committees and subcommittees that oversee media and technology businesses. All of the data was culled from OpenSecrets.org.

Comcast: The owner of NBCUniversal was by far the largest donor in the media space, giving over $2 million to politicians this cycle. It was also very even with regards to where it spent its money, giving $1.06 million yo Democrats, and $965,000 to Republicans. Most of the money went to party leaders in both houses, as well as committee members, and representatives in states where it has a large cable footprint. The CEO of Comcast, Brian Roberts, and the CEO of NBCUniversal, Steve Burke, both donated money to Democratic PACs and politicians.

News Corp: Read more

Brian Roberts On The Comcast/NBC Relationship

Bloomberg Businessweek’s latest edition is the “Interview Issue,” and among those interviewed are Mitt Romney, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Roberts was asked about the relationship he has with NBCUniversal, which is now owned by Comcast, and what role he plays in some of those decisions:

Do you get involved in decisions at the network level? If Savannah replaces Ann, do you make that call?

I knew about it ahead of time, but I do not make that call. I have tremendous confidence in [NBCUniversal CEO] Steve Burke, who worked 12 years for Disney (DIS) and 12 years for Comcast and grew up in broadcast television with his dad. [Daniel Burke was a former president and CEO of Capital Cities/ABC.] So I have the utmost confidence in Steve’s leadership and the team he relies on. I want all the key folks to know I’m involved and I care, but there should be one leader, and Steve is making those hard calls.

You can read more here.

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