Can Someone Please Fire Jeff Zucker Already?: 3.36
Let's say you have a nice life and get paid millions of dollars to be the president of a television network. All you have to decide, basically, is what shows go where. Yeah, sure, it's harder than it sounds, but let's not forget the millions of dollars in pay part. Plus really great dental.
Let's say, during your tenure as president of, oh, I dunno, NBC/Universal TV Group, your flagship channel's viewership plunged. Like, say, 60% in the prime 18-49 demographic in the three years you've run the entertainment division.
So let's say you're Jeff Zucker. Don't you think you should be fired?
Whaddaya say, Jeff? Would you fire you?
I'D CAN YO' A$$, FOOL!
Then I'd wear an open-collared shirt to work.
Zucker's relentless cost-cutting has kept NBC from sinking too far, but, surprise! It's also the reason nobody watches NBC and why NBC's cable allies have seen development and promotional funds slashed. By focusing resources on building shows with strong concepts, strong characters and real potential to be sustainable megahits, ABC seems to have secured its near-future. Ironically, ABC is resurgent thanks to the strategy that made NBC rule the ratings during its heyday-- strong scripted series with interesting and sympathetic characters. Now trying to play catch-up, Zucker's throwing money at the problem- or in this case, into Aaron Sorkin's crack pipe.
NBC's young shows are weak, the old ones are fading fast and Joey continues to stink to high heaven.
Continuing with the biblical imagery, a stroll through NBC's lineup is like a walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Behold, the desiccated viscera of "Will & Grace". Look there, coughing and dying, it's "E-Ring"! Are those buzzards circling "The Apprentice"? How many lambs must die to keep "ER" in the top 20 of the Nielsens?
Okay, so NBC ain't doing so hot-- why can't Zucker be the one to turn it around?
Zucker can't lead the net back to success because his pride and blame-shifting have cut short his supply of allies [Katie Couric, most of the good tv execs] and his marginal hit-making talent [compared to say, Les Moonves] can't make up for it. Besides, Moonves has earned his grizzled respect, while Zucker's hit parade is fast running out of balloons and colorful streamers. His biggest achievement- turning The Today Show into a morning ratings juggernaut- was what made his reputation and allowed him to work his way up at NBC. But since taking the reigns of NBC, Zucker has failed to produce anything that could even remotely be termed a 'ratings juggernaut'.
It's time that Zucker, for perhaps the first time in his life, took some responsibility for his mistakes. But since that won't happen, he needs to be fired. He's alienated Ho'wood and a good chunk of his senior execs [not to mention the assistants], sent ratings into the crapper, and micromanaged his company to the point where no one feels any semblance of independence. Please, for the love of God and all that is holy, someone fire Jeff Zucker*.
FIRE THIS GUY!
*For the record, the person that can fire Jeff Zucker is Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric and [hopefully] ruthless corporate overlord. Oh, and Mr. Immelt, if you're looking for a replacement, NBC prexy Kevin Reilly developed shows that people actually watch during his tenure with F/X.