So NBC-Uni prexy Jeff Zucker takes his network from first to fourth, and he gets some bad press—a lot of bad press. And of course, his operating units have huge layoffs, which would’ve been even huger had not parent company been bailed out by the government, through its pipeline into the Treasury, GE Capital.
So what does Zucker do? Work harder to get better shows? Resign? Nope. According to multimedia queen Nikki Finke, he has set up a “war room” to monitor his detractors—I guess now, in the spirit of war, to be defined as enemies. (It was Nikki who did the graphic to the left.)
It seems that Jeff is going to hire Kevin Goldman of CNBC, to come over the Zuckerbunker to focus full time on batting down bad blogs and the like from their attacks on NBCU’s fearless leader:
So NBC Universal is in such terrible trouble these days that its boss Jeff Zucker has now decided that the company should go to DEFCON 1 (the defense readiness condition representing expectation of an imminent attack). The forward position will be at 30 Rockefeller Plaza where a new and broader media strategy will be pursued. So while NBCU is cutting costs and laying off staff, Zucker is expanding his own flak flacks. Under EVP Cory Shields (who is Jeff’s mouthpiece) and SVP Kathy Kelly-Brown, I understand that NBCU’s corporate communications unit will now include an additional field marshall to monitor New Media, provide rapid response capabilities, and ensure websites, blogs and other media outlets are publishing and capturing appropriate NBCU content. Seriously, that’s the real job description for Kevin Goldman, the former VP of CNBC media relations recently promoted to the NBCU war room. Zucker has managed to co-opt many mainstream newspapers and magazines into not writing about most of NBCU’s fuck-ups. But he obviously feels the need to seek safety in a bunker surrounded by more human shields taking all the incoming sniper fire from New Media. “As print is becoming less and less relevant, and blogs more and more relevant, we have to have relationships with blogs and a response to what they post,” an insider tells me. What Zucker doesn’t understand is that the artillery barrage will continue no matter the size of the PR defense perimeter as long as he keeps leading NBCU into oblivion.
If it all seems a bit strange—like something out of Dr. Strangelove, with Zucker playing the part of, say, Buck Turgidson—well, that’s the point that Finke is trying to make.
But sometimes movies and satire have a way of converging with the truth. The Cable Gamer can see, for example, that one day General Electric will have four operating units:
1) Support Jeff Immelt and his quest to “golden parachute” himself into some green job in the government somewhere. With GE stock down to 9, Jeff is done for in the private sector, so government is the only place left for him and his ego.
2) Speaking of ego, GE will need a unit—MSNBC is doing fine so far—to care and stroke Keith Olbermann’s ego. He is building his own liberal empire of lilliputian leftists, and while ordinary people aren’t watching, the Obama White House is, and so for the sake of the next bailout, Keith is a vital profit center.
3) GE’s lobbying arm, to make sure that Democrats know how much MSNBC loves them, and so keep the bailout money coming—did you see Rachel Maddow’s kissyface interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? That should be worth more billions to MSNBC!
4) Jeff Zucker’s war room. As more people get laid off all around him, count on the Zuckerbunker to get bigger and bigger, till the final Zuckerdammerung.
The guys at Citigroup have almost done a better job managing their business. NBC went from #1 to #3. and in the news division they brag about MSNBC being in 3rd place in a 3 horse race. Wow what an accomplishment! They have ruined the reputation of NBC news by going hard left and becoming the cheerleaders for the Democratic Party.
Political correctness and ass kissing can be the only explanation for his longevity.
I’d like to see Goldman’s response to that!
Reposted from The Cable Game, 27 February 2009