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October 25, 2014

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NBC Exec Blames Conan Ratings as Late Night War Rages On

by Bryan Enk, posted Jan 15th 2010 11:05AM
The late-night war just got dirtier thanks to NBC exec Dick Ebersol.

According to the NY Times, Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, claims that the reason for Jay Leno's rumored return to late-night is a simple one: disappointing ratings for 'The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien.'

Regarding the attacks on Leno made by O'Brien and CBS's David Letterman on their respective shows, Ebersol says it was "chicken-hearted and gutless to blame a guy you couldn't beat in the ratings," and "what this is really all about is an astounding failure by Conan."

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Funny or Die Weighs in on Conan O'Brien

by Scott Harris, posted Jan 13th 2010 1:30PM
Traditionally, late night talk show hosts make their living mocking celebrity gossip and Hollywood drama. But when that drama involves those hosts themselves, who can we turn to for our comedy relief?

One answer: Funny or Die. The website, which was co-founded by Will Ferrell and which features humorous videos ranked by how much they make viewers laugh, has become one of the most popular comedy websites on the internet. So it's only fitting that they're taking on the same comedic institutions that helped inspire their brand of humor: the kings of the late night monologue, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.


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More NBC surprises: they wanted Barbara Walters back

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 11th 2010 3:30PM
Barbara WaltersThe interesting moves by NBC aren't just in late night and prime time. Veteran newswoman Barbara Walters has revealed that NBC News tried to get her back.

On this morning's episode of ABC's The View, the women were talking about Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien and Walters said that last June, Jeff Zucker and other execs at NBC made an offer to Walters to come back to NBC, where she started as a host and reporter on The Today Show many years ago. Walters says she was flattered by the offer and "the fact that they would make an offer to someone of my age and consider that I still had years ahead," but decided to stay at ABC because she's happy there. Zucker then offered Walters her own show every single night at 10PM, but she still turned them down.

OK, I made up that last part.

Walters says that even if she had gone to NBC, she would have still kept her spot on The View because it's a daytime show. Though something tells me that NBC would have had something to say about that.

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Best and Worst TV of 2009: Allison's list

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 20th 2009 9:24AM

glee_fox_cast
What a year! Once we got over the WGA strike, the networks kicked it into high gear and got busy making TV. Except for NBC. Even Jeff Zucker has admitted that NBCU has failed to respond to the need for new programming.

Fortunately, the other channels have been busy and there's been a lot of great television... and some that's just plain awful. But I'm a half-glass full kind of person and I have good feelings about 2009. However, since I don't want to repeat my list from last year, I'll just mention that I could put these 2008 best choices -- Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory and Mad Men -- on my list again. But I'm going to go for an all new list and, thankfully, I had plenty of 'bests' to choose from.

Best
1. Glee. If there was ever a show that was made just for my personal taste, this is probably it. I love the singing and dancing. I get the characters. It even tickles me that I had just as much angst with bullies in high school as these kids. Every episode hasn't been perfect, but it's perfectly fine that they keep striving.

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Jeff Zucker Signs New Three-Year Contract

by Daniel Frankel, posted Dec 11th 2009 12:30PM
The man who brought us the 'The Jay Leno Show,' led NBC into last place, but built a powerful cable empire in the process, has been given a new three-year deal.

Indeed, Jeff Zucker has just been re-upped and will remain as CEO of freshly purchased NBC Universal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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Five changes Comcast should make to NBC

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 3rd 2009 3:02PM
Comcast and NBC Universal logosIt's official: GE has sold 51% of NBC Universal to Comcast, for approximately $6.5 billion dollars in cash (what are the odds they'll use this as an excuse to raise my cable bill again?). It'll take about a year to go through the regulatory and anti-trust gauntlets, but after that, the cable giant will be in charge.

Everyone makes fun of NBCU because of the NBC's bumbling high-profile moves over the last half-decade or so, but the reason why the company was so attractive to Comcast was not the broadcast network, but its über-successful cable networks, especially Bravo and USA. Still, it's embarrassing to have your flagship net stumble around like a disoriented shopper on Black Friday. So, if I were in the Comcast executive suite, here's a few things I'd do to prop up the Peacock:

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Comcast, NBC Deal Made Official

by Rebecca Paiement, posted Dec 3rd 2009 12:11PM
It's official.

The Hollywood Reporter announced this morning that Comcast has shaken hands with General Electric, giving the giant cable company 51 percent of NBC Universal and Comcast's content assets.

Though the agreement was initially discussed in 2003, when NBC Uni had a higher value, the company is currently said to be worth $30 billion, with its recent acquisitions of Oxygen and iVillage.com, among others. Comcast, of course, brings along networks like E!, the Golf Channel and other sporting networks, valued at $7.25 billion. The final figure paid to GE will depend on what happens in talks between now and the close of the deal, but it is rumored to be about $6.5 billion. This will have Comcast exceeding the revenue assets of Walt Disney, Time Warner and News Corp.

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Comcast might buy NBC (or they might not - who knows?)

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 1st 2009 1:33PM
NBCYesterday, rumors were flying after an Los Angeles Times report said that Comcast was in negotiations to buy NBC. But then The New York Times reported late last night that both sides denied that any negotiations were going on between the two companies. This morning, things are a little... murkier.

Mediabistro got hold of an e-mail that NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker sent to employees. It's a long e-mail, but nowhere in it does he say that the rumors of Comcast (or anyone else) buying NBC are untrue.

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Olbermann, O'Reilly told to end personal feud, which just creates another feud

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 11th 2009 9:03AM
Keith Olbermann hiding behind Bill O'Reilly's giant puppet headIt seems the never-ending feud between Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly has become a kangaroo boxing match. The worst thing you can do is get in the middle of it.

That's exactly what the parent owners of Fox News and MSNBC tried to do when they arranged a "cease-fire" between them and their top-tier shows' "lieutenants."

The cease-fire, however, didn't last long. It's another case of the ol' Rufus T. Firefly conundrum for peace. Either side might be willing to do whatever it takes to end this war, but they've already paid two months' rent on the battlefield.

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Jeff Zucker talks about NBC, web content, and why Seinfeld wouldn't survive today

by Bob Sassone, posted May 29th 2009 7:02PM
When I first saw this I thought to myself, Jeff, a show like Seinfeld actually would survive if you stuck with it and didn't cancel it, just like NBC did back then. You don't have to cancel shows even today just because they don't get great ratings after two episodes.

This is a clip of NBC boss Jeff Zucker being interviewed at the All Things D conference. He talks about Hulu, iTunes, NBC's woes, and how the industry has changed over the years. (This is highlights from the interview - full report here.)

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Bravo concocts The Real Housewives of D.C.

by Allison Waldman, posted May 26th 2009 2:03PM
bravo logoRemember that Barbra Streisand-Donna Summer disco duet, "Enough Is Enough"? That's what came to mind when I read that Bravo is planning another edition of The Real Housewives, this time D.C. Is there any end to Bravo's lack of innovation? Are there no new ideas out there that they have to spin out more housewives. How real they are remains debatable, if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong. I've actually watched The Real Housewives of Orange County, as well as the New York City ladies and even the newest creation, those Jersey girls, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. The latter, in fact, are a hoot if you can get past the similarities to Carmela Soprano that imbue the entire series. I keep expecting Tony or Uncle Junior to pop up at one of their parties.

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Renewal for Chuck? Not just yet...

by Allison Waldman, posted May 3rd 2009 2:23PM
chuck in pcTo me, this should be a no-brainer. NBC should renew Chuck for a third season, even if it only commits to 12 episodes, it should bring the show back. However, I'm not one of the geniuses in Jeff Zucker's world; you know, those mental giants that have committed five hours of prime time to Jay Leno starting next fall and recently signed up for more Donald Trump celebrity/reality BS. No, I'm just a loyal Chuck viewer who has seen a show improve from week to week culminating with a superb final two episodes in 2009.

Well, there were rumors that on Monday at NBC's "infront" -- a preview for the "upfront" -- that Chuck would get a pick up. TV Guide says that's not the case. On Friday, Chuck star Zachary Levi told a reporter that Josh Schwartz, the Chuck exec producer, had emailed him that NBC's decision about Chuck was on hold. The pick up, if it comes, won't be for a couple of weeks.

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NBC's Jeff Zucker has given up

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 20th 2009 12:55PM
Zucker NBCDid you hear this one, folks? NBC is throwing in the towel. The boss of bosses, NBC Universal CEO, the head honcho himself, Jeff Zucker, was at an industry event recently and declared, "I don't think we'll ever be able to say, 'NBC is number one in prime time.'"

Okay, there it is. The man has given up. He's basically admitting that his product is inferior and he doesn't think he'll ever catch up with his competitors. So, as a TV viewer, I have to wonder why I should invest in anything Zucker churns out at NBC if he doesn't believe that he's ever going to be number one again?

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Jeff Zucker fires back at Jon Stewart

by Brad Trechak, posted Mar 19th 2009 9:03AM
The Daily Show With Jon StewartNBC head honcho Jeff Zucker is apparently getting himself involved in the war of the words between CNBC and Jon Stewart. He called Stewart's criticism of the network "absurd" and "unfair."

I hate to admit it, but I actually agree with Zucker to a point. CNBC's reputation did take a beating from this recession, and I wonder if they did hardball the executives like Stewart said they should, the companies could have cut off access and made reporting that much more difficult. I'm not saying CNBC was right in what they did. I'm simply saying that I somewhat understand why.

It's easy for someone like Stewart to call them out on this sort of thing. Being on a network called Comedy Central, most newscasters relegate him to the position of "cable clown." The Daily Show doesn't actually investigate news, unlike CNBC. It does something more akin to a half-hour opinion column based on the work of other news programs.

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TV Squad Ten: 2009 predictions from the cracked crystal ball

by Richard Keller, posted Jan 8th 2009 11:03AM

What do we perdict from the cracked crystal ball of television? Find out and see.Ah, 2009. Come in, come in! Have a seat at my crystal ball. Oh, I know it's cracked, but don't worry -- it's still useful.

You are so young, so virile, my little new year. You are also ripe...ripe for me to predict your future. I see plenty in my cracked crystal ball -- yes, yes, it's working just fine. Some of it is good, some is bad, and the rest I can't see because of all the cracks. Those predictions probably don't mean much anyway. I mean, Dustin Diamond being cast in a remake of Cop Rock? Who would believe such tripe?

Oh, don't get up! Yes, Allison gave us her predictions already, but that was with a different ball. So, sit, sit, and let me predict your future in television through my fractured sphere.

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