Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is Zucker Done At NBC?

When companies are put up for sale, the prevailing winds say don't rock the boat. No sudden movements, no departure from the norm, steady sailing through choppy seas till the sale is completed. Done. Over. And such is the case for the proposed sale of NBC to Comcast. But despite such best efforts, and the rhetoric that management is solid and part of the future, change is being planned. One that comes with no surprises is that Jeff Zucker, long a fixture of NBC, will depart "with an exit package of roughly $30 million to $40 million, under the proposed exit deal, those sources said."

Clearly, NBC ratings have not done well under his stewardship. The Leno - Conan moves were a fiasco. And public opinion has not been very popular. But it is also hard to feel sorry for someone that will lose their job with $30 million plus in their pocket. Change is in the air.

The question that remains is what if the sale doesn't come through. Is it already done in back room hand shakes? Is the public FCC review merely for show? And is the merger of content and distribution, especially broadcast distribution, a good thing? It seems to me that the ship is leaving port, NBC will be in the hands of Comcast, Zucker will be gone. Plans are already being developed for post sale. I leave little hope that the NBC sale to Comcast will be denied.

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