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Zucker on News, Weather, Sports and, Yes, GE

ZuckerBeijing_8.15.jpgIn a wide-ranging interview this morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box, NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker talked about the success of the Olympics, the challenges ahead for the network and the question that never seems to go away: the future of NBCU within GE. Zucker:

Jeff Immelt who runs GE has obviously been clear on this for a long time that NBC Universal has been an important part of GE. I think one of the great things to come out of this week and the week ahead, we’re only halfway through the Olympics, is that people will continue to understand how important the company is to GE and, again, I think the most important thing to come out of this week is really the power of network television.

And there were the standard, ingratiating moments, like Carl Quintanilla calling Zucker a “genius” for sticking to the tape delayed Opening Ceremony. “Let me be clear,” Zucker said, “I’m not the genius. The geniuses are the folks at NBC Olympics and NBC Sports led by Dick Ebersol who has done a tremendous job in producing these games.”

Zucker also talks about The Weather Channel acquisition, the future of NBC’s ownership of Telemundo and the challenges for NBC’s entertainment division.

Click continued to read the entire transcript…


Carl Quintanilla: THESE GAMES ARE ON TRACK TO BE THE MOST WATCHED SUMMER OLYMPICS IN OLYMPIC HISTORY SURPASSING EVEN ATLANTA BACK IN ’96. 30 MILLION VIEWERS PER NIGHT ON NBC PRIME TIME. 70 MILLION PAGE VIEWS ON NBCOLYMPICS.COM ON DAY ONE. AND ONE MAN HAPPY ABOUT THAT IS OUR NEXT GUEST, JEFF ZUCKER THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF NBC UNIVERSAL JOINS US HERE IN FRONT OF THE BIRD’S NEST. MEL BROOKS ONCE SAID IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING. YOU’VE GOT TO BE FEELING THAT WAY THIS MORNING.
Jeff Zucker: CARL, IT’S OBVIOUSLY GREAT TO BE ON “SQUAWK BOX.” I’M HAPPY TO BE HERE AND OBVIOUSLY THIS HAS BEEN A TERRIFIC WEEK FOR THE OLYMPICS AND HAS BEEN A GREAT WEEK FOR NBC UNIVERSAL AND ALL THE PLATFORMS OF NBC UNIVERSAL. CERTAINLY NBC AT THE CENTER OF THAT. IT’S BEEN GREAT.

Quintanilla: THERE’S BEEN REPORTS EVEN THIS WEEK ABOUT AN ADDITIONAL $10 MILLION IN AD REVENUE THIS WEEK. HOW MUCH ARE YOU GOING TO COME ON TOP OF THE TARGETS YOU HAVE COMING IN?

Zucker: THE RATINGS HAVE BEEN TERRIFIC AND I THINK ADVERTISERS HAVE SEEN THE GENUINE EXCITEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES AROUND THE GAMES THEY’VE ASKED TO BE LET INTO THE PARTY THIS WEEK AND OBVIOUSLY WE’VE RAISED MUCH MORE THAN WE EXPECTED TO SINCE THE GAMES BEGAN AND I THINK WE’LL BE NORTH OF THAT $10 MILLION YOU CITED. A BUSINESS WRITTEN JUST SINCE THE GAMES BEGAN.

Quintanilla: THIS IS “USA TODAY,” JUST THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS. IT’S THE TYPE OF ALL-CONSUMING ADDICTION SELDOM SEEN IN MODERN MEDIA. IS IT GOING TO STOP PEOPLE FROM WRITING THE OBITUARY OF BROADCAST TELEVISION?

Zucker: I THINK A GREAT STORY TO COME OUT OF THESE GAMES, THIS SHOWS THE POWER OF NETWORK TELEVISION. IN THE FOUR YEARS SINCE WE LAST HAD THE OLYMPICS IN ATHENS AND EIGHT YEARS AGO SINCE WE WERE IN SYDNEY THE EROSION OF NETWORK TELEVISION HAS BEEN PRONOUNCED AND THERE’S NO WAY OF GETTING AROUND THAT. BUT THE FACT IS THIS EVENT SHOWS THE PIPES WORK AND THAT IF YOU PUT ON GREAT PROGRAMMING THAT PEOPLE WANT TO WATCH, THEN THEY’LL SHOW UP. THAT’S WHAT’S HAPPENED ON NBC. SO THIS REALLY IS A GREAT WATERSHED MOMENT FOR NETWORK TELEVISION. IT’S GREAT FOR NBC BUT IT’S GREAT FOR ALL OF NETWORK TELEVISION. IT DOES SHOW THE PIPES STILL WORK AND IT’S A GREAT MOMENT FOR OUR MULTISCREEN ON AIR, ONLINE, ON THE GO, THE DIGITAL ASPECTS OF THESE GAMES HAS BEEN HUGE. IT DOES COME BACK TO NETWORK TELEVISION.

Quintanilla: DARREN AND I WERE HERE ONE WEEK AGO TONIGHT WATCHING THE OPENING CEREMONY HAPPEN. PEOPLE SAID THERE’S NO WAY YOU’RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO BOTTLE THAT EXCITEMENT FOR 12 HOURS AS WE WAITED FOR LIVE IN THE STATES. THEN 24 HOURS LATER YOU’RE A GENIUS FOR HELPING BUILD THE HYPE.WHAT WAS THE PLAN?

Zucker: LET ME BE CLEAR. I’M NOT THE GENIUS. THE GENIUSES ARE THE FOLKS AT NBC OLYMPICS AND NBC SPORTS LED BY DICK EBERSOL WHO HAS DONE A TREMENDOUS JOB IN PRODUCING THESE GAMES. THERE’S NO QUESTION WE DID THE RIGHT THING IN HOLDING THE OPENING CEREMONY TO AIR IN PRIME TIME ON NBC THAT NIGHT. THE EXCITEMENT THAT BUILT OUT OF WORD OF MOUTH THAT THE OPENING CEREMONY WAS THE MOST SPECTACULAR THING THAT PEOPLE HAD SEEN, THAT CHINA HAD WANTED TO MAKE A STATEMENT AND THEY MADE A STATEMENT AND PEOPLE WANTED TO SEE THAT. I THINK WHAT’S BEEN GREAT WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO BOTTLE THAT EXCITEMENT SINCE THE OPENING CEREMONY AND I THINK THE TEAM HAS CAPTURED THAT IN EVERY DAY SINCE.

Quintanilla: JOE, MICHELLE, I KNOW YOU ARE LISTENING AND YOU HAVE SOME QUESTIONS.

Joe Kernen: I’D LIKE TO TAKE ISSUE, STRONG ISSUE WITH SOMETHING JEFF ZUCKER JUST SAID.

Zucker: WHAT A SHOCK. JOE?

Kernen: IN THAT YOU SAID YOU ARE NOT THE GENIUS OF THAT ENTIRE THING. I WOULD LIKE TO DISAGREE VERY VEHEMENTLY AND STRONGLY.

Zucker: OBVIOUSLY I SPOKE TOO SOON, JOE. SO LET ME JUST SAY, JOE, IT’S GREAT TO SEE YOU.

Kernen: I JUST WANT TO SAY I’M ON RECORD AS SAYING IT IS YOU. DO YOU GET AMERICAN MAGAZINES OVER THERE, MR. ZUCKER?

Zucker: NO, I DON’T GET AMERICAN MAGAZINES. TO WHAT ARE YOU REFERRING TO?

Kernen: THERE’S THIS PORTFOLIO PIECE I DON’T KNOW IF YOU HAVE SEEN IT –

Zucker: IT’S A FINE, FINE MAGAZINE.
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: IT’S QUITE A MAGAZINE. THAT IS A VERY HANDSOME PICTURE.

Kernen: NOW THAT’S YOU, YOU’RE LOOKING OVER ALL OF MANHATTAN AND NEW YORK CITY.YOU JUST RUN NBC OR ARE YOU RUNNING THE ENTIRE MANHATTAN COMPLEX NOW?

Zucker: NO, JOE, WE’RE GOOD WITH NBC UNIVERSAL AND, BY THE WAY, LET ME JUST REMIND EVERYBODY THAT NBC UNIVERSAL IS ENOUGH AND CNBC IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THAT EVEN THOUGH NBC IS OBVIOUSLY THE BIG STORY THIS WEEK.

Kernen: I THINK CNBC GOT YOU ON THE COVER OF THAT. BUT THAT’S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. SOME OF THE THINGS IN THE PIECE, THOUGH, JEFF, YOU USE THE DIGITAL, YOU KNOW, TRYING TO GET DIGITAL IT YOU GET DIGITAL PENNIES FROM ANALOG DOLLARS. THE CHALLENGES OF PROGRAMMING PRIME TIME, THOSE HAVE NOT GONE AWAY. DO YOU EVEN SORT OF ACKNOWLEDGE — THE PLAN IS NOT SET FORTH YET. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT NETWORK WILL LOOK LIKE IN FIVE YEARS, RIGHT?

Zucker: WELL, LOOK, OBVIOUSLY NOBODY KNOWS WHERE THE ENTIRE DIGITAL REVOLUTION IS GOING AND ANYBODY WHO CLAIMS THEY KNOW WHAT THE WORLD IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE IN FIVE YEARS OBVIOUSLY IS NOT TELLING THE TRUTH. BUT ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS TO COME OUT OF THESE OLYMPIC GAMES IS THAT THE TREMENDOUS USE OF OUR DIGITAL PROPERTIES ONLINE AND THE GREAT VIEWERSHIP ONLINE AND THE TREMENDOUS NUMBER OF PAGE VIEWS IS REALLY TEACHING US A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO CONSUME GREAT CONTENT. AND SO WE’RE GOING TO COME OUT OF THESE OLYMPICS WITH GREAT DIGITAL KNOWLEDGE AND HOPEFULLY WE’LL BE ABLE TO TURN THOSE DIGITAL PENNIES INTO DIGITAL IF NOT DOLLARS DIGITAL 50 CENT PIECES AT SOME POINT. THAT’S ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS TO COME OUT OF THESE OLYMPICS.THERE’S NO QUESTION WE STILL HAVE THAT CHALLENGE IN HOW TO MONETIZE THE DIGITAL WORLD.
Caruso-Cabrera: JEFF, IT’S MICHELLE HERE. GOOD TO SEE YOU.

Zucker: HI, MICHELLE. GOOD TO SEE YOU, TOO.
Caruso-Cabrera: WITH THE U.S. ECONOMY WEAK AND THE CHINESE ECONOMY GROWING DOUBLE DIGITS FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS IT’S LED TO THIS TONE OF PROTECTIONISM HERE IN THE UNITED STATES AND ALMOST THIS US VERSUS THEM FEELING BETWEEN SOME MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE CHINESE. DO YOU THINK THESE GAMES THAT HAVE BEEN A COMING OUT PARTY FOR THE CHINESE, DO YOU THINK THAT’S GOING TO HELP THEM BE MORE EMBRACED AROUND THE WORLD?

Zucker: WELL, FROM MY PERSPECTIVE I THINK THAT WOULD BE IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE AND CERTAINLY FOR THE UNITED STATES AS WELL. I THINK WHEN YOU’VE BEEN HERE AND SEEN WHAT YOU HAVE THE LAST WEEK AND WHAT THE CHINESE HAVE DONE, THEY DESERVE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF CREDIT. THESE GAMES HAVE RUN BRILLIANTLY. THE CITY LOOKS SPECTACULAR AND I THINK WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT THE UNITED STATES NEEDS TO DO IN THE COMING YEARS, CHINA HAS TO BE A HUGE PART OF THAT AND TO IGNORE THAT AND TO BE PROTECTIONIST ABOUT THAT WOULD BE A HUGE MISTAKE. WE NEED TO EMBRACE ONE ANOTHER AND I HOPE THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT COMES OUT OF THESE GAMES.

Quintanilla: SPEAKING OF OVERSEAS GROWTH, SPARROW HAWK, NEW DELHI TV, WEATHER CHANNEL, YOU’VE BEEN SO ACTIVE IN M&A. A LOT OF IT OVERSEAS. ARE YOU DONE?

Zucker: LOOK, I WOULD NEVER RULE ANYTHING OUT.

Quintanilla: IS IT GOING TO BE AS ACTIVE AS IT’S BEEN?

Zucker: WE’VE HAD AN ACTIVE 16 MONTHS IN TRYING TO RESHAPE THE COMPANY, NBC UNIVERSAL. WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT, MAKE SURE WE’RE IN THE FASTEST GROWING SECTORS OF THE MEDIA INDUSTRY. BUT I DON’T KNOW WE’LL BE AS ACTIVE AS THE PAST 16 MONTHS.

Quintanilla: SOME HAVE SAID — WE ALWAYS DO THIS, JOE, WE ALWAYS ASK THE QUESTION.

Zucker: HERE WE GO.

Kernen: I HAVE A WAY TO DO IT, TOO. I HAVE A WAY OF ASKING IT.

Quintanilla: YOU DO IT FIRST AND THEN I’LL FOLLOW UP.

Kernen: YOU WANT ME TO DO IT?

Zucker: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S COMING. GO AHEAD, JOE.

Kernen: JEFF, “THE NEW YORK POST” AT THIS POINT, I LOVE THIS, I DON’T KNOW IF YOU SAW THIS TODAY, NBC SUCCESS HAS SOME OBSERVERS WONDERING IF NOW GENERAL ELECTRIC IS RECONSIDERING ITS PLAN TO SELL NBC AFTER THE OLYMPICS. AND THEY SAY IT TURNS OUT IT IS A PROFITABLE BUSINESS AND THEN “THE POST” ACTUALLY SAYS IT CERTAINLY LOOKS THAT WAY THIS WEEK, IT IS A PROFITABLE BUSINESS. SO MAYBE NOW YOU ACTUALLY ARE RETHINKING IT NOW THAT WE ARE AT THE END OF THE OLYMPICS.

Zucker: JOE, JOE, JOE.

Quintanilla: VERY NICE.

Kernen: THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I KNEW THAT WAS COMING.
Zucker: AND I KNEW THAT WAS COMING. NO, I HADN’T SEEN THAT REPORT. BUT, LOOK, AS WE’VE DISCUSSED MANY TIMES ON THIS SHOW THE FACT IS, YOU KNOW, JEFF IMMELT WHO RUNS GE HAS OBVIOUSLY BEEN CLEAR ON THIS FOR A LONG TIME THAT NBC UNIVERSAL HAS BEEN AN IMPORTANT PART OF GE. I THINK ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS TO COME OUT OF THIS WEEK AND THE WEEK AHEAD, WE’RE ONLY HALFWAY THROUGH THE OLYMPICS, IS THAT PEOPLE WILL CONTINUE TO UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT THE COMPANY IS TO GE AND, AGAIN, I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO COME OUT OF THIS WEEK IS REALLY THE POWER OF NETWORK TELEVISION WHICH IS A GREAT STORY NOT JUST FOR NBC BUT FOR ALL OUR COMPETITORS AND REALLY A REMINDER THE PIPES ARE GREAT AND WHEN THE PIPES WORK THERE’S NOTHING LIKE IT.

Quintanilla: THOSE WHO REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON THE DREAM SAY BECAUSE OF BANE, BECAUSE OF BLACKSTONE ON THE WEATHER CHANNEL DEAL, GE’S COMMITMENT TO MEDIA –

Zucker: I THINK, CARL, YOU WERE ON VACATION WHEN I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING WITH JOE AND BECKY A FEW WEEKS AGO WHEN WE DISCUSSED THE WEATHER CHANNEL.AND WE WERE REALLY HAPPY TO DO THE WEATHER CHANNEL DEAL WITH BAIN AND BLACKSTONE BECAUSE AT THE TIME THERE WAS THE WAY TO DO THE DEAL. NOBODY HAS SPENT MORE MONEY IN THE MEDIA SPACE OTHER THAN THE DOW JONES ACQUISITION THAN NEWSCORP, NOBODY HAS SPENT MORE MONEY IN THE LAST 16 MONTHA THAN GENERAL ELECTRIC IN ITS SUPPORT OF NBC UNIVERSAL AND THAT WAS THE RIGHT WAY TO DO THAT DEAL AT THAT TIME. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GE’S CONTINUING COMMITMENT TO NBC UNIVERSAL.

Caruso-Cabrera: AND JEFF?

Zucker: GO AHEAD.

Caruso-Cabrera: MICHELLE HERE AGAIN. MY BUDDIES AT TELEMUNDO ARE WONDERING WHAT THEIR FATE IS AFTER THE REPORTS THAT MAYBE YOU GUYS WERE CONSIDERING SELLING HALF A STAKE OR MAYBE YOU’RE NOT AS COMMITTED TO SPANISH TELEVISION AS YOU USED TO BE.
Zucker: WELL, I WOULD SAY ABOUT TELEMUNDO, IT REMAINS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT PART OF THE COMPANY. IT IS OBVIOUSLY PARTICIPATING IN OUR OLYMPICS COVERAGE AS WELL. WE’RE COMMITTED TO TELEMUNDO AND I THINK WE’RE IN THE RIGHT SECTOR BEING IN THE SPANISH LANGUAGE BUSINESS. SO I DON’T THINK THAT’S IT AT ALL.

Caruso-Cabrera: DOES THAT INVESTMENT RETURN AS MUCH AS YOU WANTED?

Zucker: WELL, OBVIOUSLY TELEMUNDO HAS BEEN HARDER THAN WE THOUGHT AND IT’S BEEN A MORE DIFFICULT PATH. THERE’S NO QUESTION WE NEED MORE WORK. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE THERE. I HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT WILL HAPPEN.

Quintanilla: JEFF, “KNIGHT RIDER” – “MY OWN WORST ENEMY,” CAN YOU MAKE A PREDICTION ABOUT WHERE PRIME TIME WILL BE?

Zucker: NO, LOOK. WHEN YOU LOOK AT NBC, WE HAVE THE PRE-EMINENT NEWS ORGANIZATION IN NBC NEWS, THE PRE-EMINENT SPORTS ORGANIZATION IN NBC SPORTS GIVEN WHAT THEY JUST HAD AT TORREY PINES WITH THE U.S. OPEN, THE WIMBLEDON FINAL, THE OLYMPICS HERE. WE’RE HEADING TO THE SUPER BOWL.NBC NEWS, NBC SPORTS, OBVIOUSLY NBC ENTERTAINMENT IS THE ONE PIECE WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE UPON. THAT WOULD REALLY ROUND OUT THE NETWORK. THAT’S OBVIOUSLY OUR GOAL TO IMPROVE THIS FALL WITH NBC ENTERTAINMENT. I’M NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY PREDICTIONS ABOUT WHERE WE’LL BE BUT THE KEY IS WE HAVE TO IMPROVE AND WE HAVE TO SHOW IMPROVEMENT AND THAT WILL BE IMPORTANT FOR US.

Kernen: I’M WONDERING ABOUT EVEN ASKING THIS QUESTION.

Zucker: JOE, YOU CAN ASK ANYTHING YOU WANT.

Kernen: JEFF, YOU GOT THE AAA RATING OF GE BEHIND YOU IN ALL THINGS THAT NBC UNIVERSAL DOES.YOU REPORT TO IMMELT AND GENERAL ELECTRIC. IS THAT THE WAY YOU WOULD LIKE IT TO REMAIN OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO REPORT TO SHAREHOLDERS AND HAVE A CURRENCY, A STOCK THAT YOU COULD USE TO TAKE NBC INTO THE FUTURE IN A DIFFERENT WAY? WOULD YOU BE DISAPPOINTED IF IT DIDN’T HAPPEN?

Zucker; JOE? JOE?

Kernen: YES, SIR?

Zucker: JOE?

Kernen: YES, SIR?

Zucker: JOE, LISTEN, OBVIOUSLY WE’VE BEEN A PART OF GENERAL ELECTRIC FOR 21 YEARS AND THEY’VE BEEN A FANTASTIC PARENT. THE COMPANY HAS GROWN EXPONENTIALLY IN THOSE 21 YEARS. I DON’T THINK WE WOULD HAVE SUCCEEDED IN ANY WAY LIKE WE HAVE OVER THOSE 21 YEARS WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF GE AND I HOPE IT CONTINUES FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER 21 YEARS.

Quintanilla: RATINGS WERE GOOD THIS WEEK. WE KNOW THAT. NEXT WEEK WE’RE GOING TO LOSE SWIMMING AND GYMNASTICS.

Zucker: NO, OBVIOUSLY, THE PATTERN OF THE SECOND WEEK IS NOT AS HIGH AS THE FIRST WEEK.

Quintanilla: YOUR EXPECTATIONS WILL COME DOWN.

Zucker: OH SURE. OBVIOUSLY WE KNOW WEEK TWO IS NEVER AS HIGH AS WEEK ONE IN THE OLYMPICS AND SO WE KNOW THAT IT’S NOT GOING TO BE WHAT IT’S BEEN HERE IN WEEK ONE BUT WE’RE PREPARED FOR THAT. THE FACT THAT WE’RE TRACKING AHEAD WHERE WE WERE FOUR YEARS AGO IN ATHENS, GIVE WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO NETWORK TELEVISION IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS IS A TREMENDOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT AND I DO EXPECT THAT TO CONTINUE. WE WOULDN’T HAVE EXPECTED THAT COMING IN HERE GIVEN WHAT’S HAPPENED TO NETWORK TELEVISION AND SO EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW NEXT WEEK WILL NOT BE AS HIGHLY RATED AND NEVER IS, WE’RE CONFIDENT THAT THE SUCCESS WILL CONTINUE.

Quintanilla: YOU MADE A GAMBLE WHEN IT COMES TO PILOTS TO BACK FEWER OF THEM BECAUSE IT’S HARDER NOW TO GET A BIG HIT TO PAY FOR ALL THE MISSES. THAT’S THE WAY TV’S WORKED IN THE PAST. IS THAT FLYING BLIND OR DO YOU STILL BELIEVE THAT’S THE WAY TO GO?

Zucker: I THINK WHAT WE’VE TRIED TO SAY IS WE’RE NOT ENTIRELY ON THE NBC ENTERTAINMENT SIDE OUT OF THE PILOT BUSINESS. WE’RE STILL GOING TO MAKE CERTAIN PILOTS BUT WE’RE NOT GOING TO RUN BUSINESS THE SAME WAY WE’VE BEEN RUNNING IT FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS AND WE’RE ACTUALLY PAYING THE PEOPLE WHO RUN NBC ENTERTAINMENT TO GO WITH THEIR GUTS. AND TO GO WITH THE SERIES WHAT THEY BELIEVE THEY WANT TO BE ON THE AIR AND WE HAVE A TERRIFIC TEAM IN L.A. THAT’S CAPABLE OF DOING THAT AND I DON’T LOOK AT IT AS FLYING BLIND. I LOOK AT IT AS RIDING THE HORSE WE BET ON.

Kernen: JEFF, NOW I FEEL LIKE I’M IN TROUBLE SO I WANT TO BRING UP ANOTHER SHOT THAT WE HAVE OUT OF THAT — MAYBE THIS WILL MAKE YOU FEEL IT BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER –

Quintanilla: I KNOW WHICH ONE YOU MEAN.

Kernen: WERE YOU POSED OR DID YOU REAL REALLY –

Quintanilla: THAT’S WHY FEDERER LEFT BEIJING.

Zucker: JOE, YOU SEE THE DEFINITION THERE, RIGHT, IN THE FOREARM?

Kernen: THAT IS UNBELIEVABLE.

Zucker; BUT, JOE, YOU APPRECIATE THIS. NOW YOU KNOW WHY I SHOULD STAY ON THE TENNIS COURT AND NOT THE GOLF COURSE.

Kernen: JEFF, YOU DON’T GIVE ANYTHING UP WITH GOLF EITHER. ONE LAST THING, WE HAD A LITTLE EXTRA TIME AND THIS IS KIND OF A LIGHT INTERVIEW. I ASKED CARL –

Zucker: DID THE NEXT GUEST NOT SHOW UP, BY THE WAY?

Kernen: YOU HAVE A LOT OF PULL. HEY, HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO GET ANY DECENT TICKETS, JEFF? BECAUSE CARL SAID HE HASN’T BEEN ABLE TO. MAYBE YOURS ARE BETTER. CHECK OUT SOME OF THIS FOOD AND TELL US IF YOU’VE HAD ANY.SOMEONE SENT THIS IN. I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE GONE OFF THE NBC PROPERTY.THERE’S SOME DOG BRAIN SOUP APPARENTLY –

Zucker: JOE?

Kernen: YEAH, GO AHEAD.

Zucker: JOE, JOE, THIS HAS BEEN SUCH A GOOD CONVERSATION UNTIL NOW. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Quintanilla: SCORPION BROCHETTES. THEY’RE NOT SO BAD. WE TRIED THEM LAST SUMMER.

Zucker: JOE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Kernen: I ASKED THE PRODUCER. HE PUT ALL THESE TOGETHER. I JUST WONDERED IF YOU HAD ANYTHING BUT McDONALD’S OVER THERE?

Zucker: WE’VE HAD GREAT FOOD HERE. I HAVE TO SAY.

Quintanilla: THE COMMISSARY AT SPORTS IS OUT OF THIS WORLD. IT’S AN OPEN STARBUCKS.

Zucker: THAT’S TRUE. I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS WE’VE SEEN HERE, AND I THINK THIS IS IMPORTANT, YOU KNOW, FOR EVERYBODY WATCHING, THIS CITY HAS JUST PUT ON A GREAT SHOW AND UP AND DOWN THE LINE AT EVERY LEVEL I THINK THE CHINESE HAVE A LOT TO BE PROUD OF. AND THAT’S SOMETHING WE ALL TAKE AWAY FROM THIS.

Quintanilla: 1988, IT’S PEACOCK LEDGEND THAT YOUR CAREER BEGAN AS A NEWCOMER TO NBC AT SEOUL AT THE OLYMPICS, 20 YEARS LATER RUN THE ENTIRE NETWORK SHIP. HOW MUCH OF THAT CIRCLES IN YOUR HEAD?

Zucker: THE OLYMPICS ARE VERY SPECIAL TO ME. THEY HOLD A VERY SPECIAL PLACE IN MY LIFE. AND SO IT’S VERY EXCITING TO BE BACK HERE IN ASIA. I WAS IN SEOUL FOR THE 1988 OLYMPICS. IT’S EXCITING TO BE BACK AS PART OF THE NEWS ORGANIZATION WITH YOU HERE, WITH OUR SPORTS OPERATION. IT’S JUST DONE A GREAT JOB AND IT’S REALLY A CREDIT. IT’S REALLY WHAT OUR SPORTS AND OLYMPICS TEAM AND OUR NEWS TEAM HAVE DONE THAT MAKES THE 16,000 EMPLOYEES WHO ARE PART OF NBC UNIVERSAL INCREDIBLY PROUD AND FOR ME PERSONALLY IT’S AN HONOR TO BE BACK IN THE OLYMPICS.

Quintanilla: YOU’RE GOING TO COME BACK EVEN IF JOE’S ON SET, RIGHT?

Zucker: I LOOK FORWARD TO BEING PART OF “SQUAWK BOX” WHEN JOE IS THERE, WHEN BECKY’S THERE, WHEN MICHELLE IS THERE, WHEN CARL — TO BE WITH YOU. THIS IS THE MOST FUN THING I HAVE IN MY JOB IS TO BE PART OF THE “SQUAWK BOX” TEAM.

Quintanilla: JEFF, AS ALWAYS…

Zucker: IS IT 9:00 YET? ARE WE GOING OFF THE AIR?
Caruso-Cabrera: WE’VE GOT HOURS.

Kernen: I CAN GET SOME MORE TIME.

Zucker: ARE MARK HAINES AND ERIN BURNETT – ARE WE ON “SQUAWK ON THE STREET”

Kernen: I CAN GET SOME MORE TIME FOR YOU.
Caruso-Cabrera: HE’S GOT CONNECTIONS.

Zucker: I’D LIKE TO RUN SOME COMMERCIALS TODAY.

Kernen: YOU’RE NOT MAKING ENOUGH MONEY OVER THERE, ZUCKER? GEE.
HOW MANY YACHTS CAN YOU WATERSKI BEHIND?

Zucker: ALL RIGHT NOW, JOE.

Kernen: THANK YOU, SIR.

Zucker: IT’S GOOD TO SEE YOU, JOE AND MICHELLE.

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