Shakeups at the Top Rock CNN, NBC

By: From CBS News
By: From CBS News

NEW YORK -- Big shakeups happened Friday at two major media companies.

NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker, who rose from a youthful producer at the "Today" show to run the multifaceted media business, said he would step down after cable provider Comcast takes control of the company later this year.

Zucker told employees of his planned departure in an e-mail he sent Friday, and Comcast's chief executive said that he wished him well.

"It has been a great run and I've been incredibly fortunate," he said in the email.

Over at CNN, Jon Klein, the network's U.S. chief, was fired less than two weeks before a schedule revamp he engineered was about to launch.

Klein has been replaced by Ken Jautz, who currently runs HLN, said Jim Walton, CNN Worldwide president. CNN is also seeking another executive who will serve as executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide.

Klein has held his job for six years, overseeing more aggressive news coverage and the development of Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta as major personalities. The former CBS News executive said he's confident CNN is better today than when he arrived in December 2004.

"I'm disappointed, but these things happen in the media business," Klein said, "and they happened to me this time."

As for Zucker, he said in an interview with The New York Times that Comcast's chief operating officer, Steve Burke, had made it clear in a meeting two weeks ago that the company sought to move on with new leadership.

He presided over the downfall of the flagship NBC's prime-time lineup from its 1990s dominance in the "Friends" era to where it has been the fourth-place broadcast network. Yet NBC News has remained the strongest broadcast news division and the network continues to dominate in late-night programming.

The network's experiment last season putting Jay Leno in prime time proved a spectacular failure, blowing up further when Conan O'Brien refused to move his "Tonight Show" to a later time slot to accommodate Leno's return to late night. The Winter Olympics in Vancouver last year, while a ratings winner for NBC, cost the company a $223 million loss because rights negotiations were concluded in a different economic climate.


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