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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Zucker’

Jeff Zucker: CNN Won’t be ‘Shamed’ Into Benghazi Coverage

JeffZuckerCNNCapital New York reports CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker won’t allow CNN to be “shamed” into covering special committee hearings on the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“We’re not going to be shamed into it by others who have political beliefs that want to try to have temper tantrums to shame other news organizations into covering something,” Zucker told the New York TimesBill Carter at last night’s Deadline Club awards dinner. “If it’s of real news value, we’ll cover it.”

The “others” Zucker was likely referring to were his competitors at Fox News and MSNBC; both networks rededicated coverage to the Benghazi story earlier this month when new emails were uncovered showing White House adviser Ben Rhodes providing former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice talking points before her Sunday show interviews several days after the attack.

And while continuing to defend his network’s Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 coverage, Zucker acknowledged one regrettable moment.

“He was being facetious, but it did not come off that way,” Zucker said about anchor Don Lemon asking a guest if a black hole possibly sucked in the plane. “And he knows that if he could do it over again, he wouldn’t quite present it that way.”

CNN Ad Sales EVP on Selling Traditional Newscasts vs. Original Series

CNNLogo_11.24CNN Worldwide EVP of ad sales Katrina Cukaj talks to Capital New York about the differences between selling traditional newscasts and original series, which the network continues to add to its lineup:

There are so many incredible headlines out there, and it is a different sort of storytelling, and I think you probably got that from Jeff [Zucker]’s presentation [at the upfront]. We do storytelling on a newscast very differently than we do storytelling in an original series. I think the opportunity for us is to engage with our viewers and our advertisers in unique storytelling ways, so I think Jeff used the example of the way Anderson Cooper covers Libya is going to be a little bit different than the way an Anthony Bourdain covers Libya, and that is the positioning we are using in the marketplace.

Some of the topics are being ripped from the headlines, and we have new storytellers now, though these production companies that we are working with in the longform, to get more engaged, deeper into what some of those headline stories were, and “Chicagoland” was a perfect example of that. The three key pillars for us is the original reporting, the original series and films, and with all of our digital distribution, basically taking and driving that scale and reach across the board.

Jeff Zucker on CNN’s MH370 Coverage: ‘The Audience has Spoken’

CNN planeMashable’s Jason Abbruzzese talks to CNN executives, including Jeff Zucker, about how the network has “embraced data to help understand not just what to say and how to say it, but where to say it and when to stop saying it.” In the case of the missing Malaysian plane, for example, the network concluded that “numbers, not critics, are the measure of success”:

“I think that if people want to be critical of CNN for over-covering a story, that’s totally fine with us,” CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker told Mashable. “Clearly, the audience has spoken and said that what CNN did was correct.”

CNN’s use of data to track the habits of consumers online and on TV helped the outlet realize that the plane story had legs. That research prompted the network to keep the story on air longer than might seem intuitive to a news producer.

[...] KC Estenson, general manager of CNN Digital, said the missing Malaysian airliner was just the most visible example of the network’s embrace of data as an editorial tool.

“We’re looking at consumption patterns and trends across the web, mobile, social and video, and then on third-party sites, looking at that and making decisions about how we program for all platforms,” said Estenson, who oversees CNN’s data operations. “You’re seeing that start to come online and start to bear fruit with something like the Malaysian airline story.”

Jamie Horowitz Named SVP/General Manager of ‘Today’ Show

JamieHorowitzESPN executive Jamie Horowitz is joining NBC News as SVP and GM of the “Today” show. But his ESPN contract won’t allow him to take the job until later this year.

Horowitz, who will report to NBC News president Deborah Turness, will lead the four hours of “Today” on all platforms. Executive producer Don Nash, “Weekend Today” EP Dee Dee Thomas, and Jen Brown the GM of Today.com, will report to Horowitz.

At ESPN, Horowitz is Vice President of Original Programming and Production. He has overseen the launch of Keith Olbermann‘s ESPN2 show as well as “First Take,” “Numbers Never Lie,” and “SportsNation.” Before joining ESPN in 2006, Horowitz worked at NBC Sports. He began his career as an NBC Olympics Researcher for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

“I am honored to join Deborah’s team and help guide ‘Today’ into the future,” said Horowitz in a news release. “This is an exciting and invigorating opportunity, and I am humbled to work with one of the most indelible brands in television. I am also grateful to John Skipper and ESPN for the opportunities and support they have given me over the past eight years.”

Horowitz is another in a line of “Today” show leaders who got their start with NBC Olympics. Former EP Jim Bell, now the EP of NBC Olympics, got his start as a producer for NBC’s coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Games. Now CNN Worldwide president, one-time “Today” show EP Jeff Zucker‘s first job at NBC was as a researcher at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Deadspin first reported back in January that NBC was talking with Horowitz about the job.

See Turness’ internal note to staff, after the jump…

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The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual ’35 Most Powerful People in New York Media’

Television news executives and personalities are well represented on The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual “35 Most Powerful People in New York Media” list.

From the executive ranks: CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and president David Rhodes; NBC News chairman Pat Fili-Krushel and president Deborah Turness; and incoming Disney/ABC Television group president Ben Sherwood and ABC News president James Goldston represent the broadcast networks. On the cable side, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker and Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith make the list.

The main anchors for the broadcast networks — Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer and Scott Pelley — are all on the list, as well as morning anchors from each network. For NBC, it’s Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist; Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell represent CBS; and for ABC, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Lara Spencer. “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski and “CBS Sunday Morning” EP Rand Morrison are also named.

As for cable news talent, all three Fox News primetime hosts — Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity — make the list. From MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough; and from CNN, Anderson Cooper.

Other notable additions: Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, Bob Costas, Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa.

TVNewser will be at the party celebrating the honorees tonight.

[Images via Hollywood Reporter]

CNN Doubles Down on a Mix of Live News, Original Series and Films

photoCNN wants viewers to “go there.” And for CNN, “there” is everywhere.

The network announced today it is going to continue pushing the boundaries of traditional cable news by launching more exploratory programs weeknights at 9pmET hosted by proven TV talent: Mike Rowe, John Walsh and Lisa Ling, among them.

“What we did over the course of the last year was test that out,” CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker told TVNewser in an interview after his upfront presentation. He touted shows hosted by Anthony Bourdain and Morgan Spurlock, paired with documentaries like “Blackfish,” and “Chicagoland,” which complemented CNN’s breaking news coverage. “We were able to test out our ability to do both at the same time and that’s how we feel that it all works together,” Zucker says.

“As you see, none of this is about prison lockups,” Zucker joked, taking a jab at MSNBC’s popular “Lockup” franchise.

“Nobody should ever be confused about our commitment to live breaking news when it happens, as witnessed by the last six weeks,” Zucker said, refering to the network’s coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Zucker acknowledged a drop in live ratings when coverage of a breaking story stops, and a documentary begins. “Frankly, at the end of the day, we get paid on the DVR playback,” he says. Still, he vowed to pre-empt the new 9pm block when big news breaks.

We asked several CNN anchors what they thought of the new primetime lineup, “I think it’s cool,” Anderson Cooper told us. “There’s a lot of different ways to tell a story. To me, the storytelling makes sense the way it’s going to work.”

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As Missing Plane Coverage Continues, ‘Crossfire’ Vanishes

Crossfire304x200One of CNN’s signature political shows remains off the air, despite the easing up of near-nonstop coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Today marks one month since “Crossfire” last aired. But it’s not for a lack of political news: the Affordable Care Act sign-up deadline, which lends itself to fiery debate, came and went; there have been primaries in several states leading up to the 2014 midterms, not to mention the jockeying for 2016, and then there’s the politics of foreign policy: Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and beyond.

A CNN spokesperson tells TVNewser the 6:30pmET show “will remain on hiatus this week, but will be back soon.”

CNN clearly sees value in the brand. Today at its Upfront, which TVNewser will be attending, the network will announce that “Crossfire Reloaded” is among the series from the new CNN Digital Studios.

The TV version of “Crossfire,” however, “is not easily adaptable to a single breaking news story, especially a missing airliner,” former senior executive at CBS, Fox, and Telemundo, Joe Peyronnin, tells TVNewser. Peyronnin says there’s a difference between “Crossfire” and news shows like those anchored by Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer, and Anderson Cooper.

“To allow ‘Crossfire’ to run at the height of viewer interest [in the missing plane story] would risk losing many viewers and break CNN’s coverage momentum,” Peyronnin says.

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Q1 2014 Ratings: Despite Strong March, CNN Third For the Quarter

CNN had its third-lowest overall quarter in primetime total viewers in 23 years (since 1991), ranking behind only the second quarter of 2012 and the final quarter of last year.

The ratings for Q1, 2014:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 498K Total Viewers / 169K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 383K Total Viewers / 122K A25-54

Compared to Q1 2013, CNN lost ground in both total day and primetime viewers. In total day, the network was down -5% in total viewers and flat in A25-54 viewers. For primetime, the net was down -16% in total viewers and down -3% in A25-54 viewers. Last year’s first quarter was CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker‘s first at the helm, as Jake Tapper premiered as host of “The Lead,” and the network drew strong ratings for its Carnival Cruise incident coverage.

Although CNN was down overall for Q1, the month of March produced strong ratings thanks to nonstop coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The strong month propelled CNN past MSNBC into second place in the total day and primetime demo category. For the month, CNN averaged 655,000 total viewers and 231,000 A25-54 viewers in total day. In primetime, the network averaged 498,000 total viewers and 164,000 A25-54 viewers.

Compared to March 2013, the network was up +42% in total viewers and up +53% demo viewers for total day. In primetime, the net was up +37% in total viewers and up +65% in the demo year-over-year. Tapper’s “The Lead,” “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” and “Anderson Cooper 360″ all moved up to the #2 spot in both total and demo viewers, passing their MSNBC counterparts, Alex Wagner, Ed Schultz, and Chris Hayes, respectively.

CNN’s full press release after the jump.

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CNN Hits New Digital Heights in March

CNN MalaysiaWhen March cable news ratings come out tomorrow, CNN will show a vast improvement over last March, likely finishing second to Fox News Channel in several measures. This morning, CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker is taking an early victory lap and thanking his team.

In a note to staff obtained by TVNewser, Zucker writes, “Your work, from Malaysia, Australia and Beijing, to Ukraine, Crimea and Moscow, to Pretoria and Washington state (and yes, Mississauga, Ontario, too), has once again shown the global power of CNN.” Mississauga is where CNN’s Martin Savidge has been holed up for the better part of three weeks in a Boeing 777 flight simulator.

March is expected to be the best month ever in page views and video streams across the CNN sites. “We will likely have more unique users across our global sites than any month in our history,” Zucker adds.

Zucker’s full note, after the jump…

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Here’s the Difference Between Ben Sherwood and Jeff Zucker

ben sherwood jeff zuckerAs Ben Sherwood prepares to take on his new role at Disney, Fortune examines whether the ABC News president “is the next Jeff Zucker.” Sherwood and Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, have followed a similar career path since they were colleagues at the Harvard Crimson:

Sherwood laughs off the comparison, saying that there are very important differences between the two, the most important of which being that he is “6’4″ and has 10% more hair than his friend “Jeffie.” (He says Zucker calls him “Benji.”) Whereas Zucker was criticized for never quite fitting into the fabric of the L.A. scene, Sherwood was born and raised there and is moving his family back to what he calls home. He does possess entertainment bona fides, having written three books that were optioned (one, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, was made into a movie in 2010), and being married to a woman with impeccable credentials in the space. (Karen Kehela Sherwood is the co-Chair at Imagine Films.)

Sherwood also weighs in about how he’ll spend the next few months: Read more

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