Former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker is joining CNN Worldwide as president, Turner Broadcasting said Thursday, confirming reports earlier this week.
Zucker will be in charge of 23 news and information businesses around the world, but his key challenge will be reinvigorating CNN’s domestic ratings, particularly in primetime, where the one-time leader has fallen to 20-year lows, behind its newer rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC.
With a background as a researcher for NBC Sports’ Olympic coverage and executive producer of NBC News programming including the Today show and Nightly News, Zucker knows his way around a newsroom.
Later he became head of all of NBCU’s operations, but was dismissed when Comcast bought control of the media company from General Electric.
Zucker will report to Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent and will be based in New York, rather than CNN’s Atlanta base.
“Jeff’s experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success,” said Kent in a statement “He built and sustained the number-one brand in morning news, and under his watch NBC’s signature news programming set a standard for quality and professionalism. As a programmer, a brand-builder and a leader, he will bring energy and new thinking to CNN. I couldn’t be happier to welcome him or more excited about what he’ll accomplish here.”
“I am thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN,” said Zucker. “The global reach and scale of the CNN brand is unparalleled in all of news. Outside of my family and the Miami Dolphins, there is nothing I am as passionate about as journalism. I spent the most rewarding years of my career as a journalist, and it’s where I look forward to spending many more. I am grateful to Phil Kent for this opportunity, and I’m excited to return to daily newsgathering and compelling storytelling in a place that values those above all else.”