Home » » Does NBCU need to be "exorcised"? So says TheWrap.com, citing "the leaks, the media sniping, the lack of candor, the inability to solve the crisis" at NBCU. Good luck draining the swamp, Steve! And have you met Keith Olbermann yet?
Does NBCU need to be "exorcised"? So says TheWrap.com, citing "the leaks, the media sniping, the lack of candor, the inability to solve the crisis" at NBCU. Good luck draining the swamp, Steve! And have you met Keith Olbermann yet?
Written By mista sense on Friday, October 1, 2010 | 7:34 PM
Johnnie L. Roberts, writing for TheWrap.com argues that the CEO of NBCU, Steve Burke, needs to be an "exorcist," pushing out the bad ideas, and bad practices, left behind by Jeff Zucker.
But let Roberts set the scene, as he describes how NBCU compounded the error of trying to replace Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien; as Roberts tells it, NBCU was screwing up to the very end of the six-year saga, failing to keep Conan within the NBCU family, even though they were paying him:
Steve Burke’s arrival atop NBC Universal – announced Sunday, as if it were ever really in doubt – likely became a fait accompli back in January, when he and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts took their first tour of the company’s West Coast operations.
Their guide: Jeff Zucker. The context: News of the Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien meltdown had just broken.
Not only did the incident overshadow the visit, but the whole affair — the leaks, the media sniping, the lack of candor, the inability to solve the crisis — starkly revealed for Burke the vast gulf between the two corporations’ cultures, top confidantes of Comcast have told TheWrap.
At the risk of breaching securities regulations by interfering, Burke could only gingerly offer advice and shake his head as the trainwreck worsened.
When the debacle finally ended with a $30 million payment to Conan and his release from NBC, the Comcast executive was relieved. And puzzled.
Why hadn’t NBC tried – or even explored – an offer for O’Brien to move to one of NBC’s cable siblings, which include USA and Bravo? As it is now, Conan will debut on rival Time Warner’s TBS.
Paying O’Brien millions to walk away from an uncomfortable situation just doesn’t square with the pragmatic, straight-shooting ethos by which Burke has come to be known. And that Hollywood desperately hopes he'll bring to NBC Universal.
And so, of course, Zucker was dead meat as soon as the Comcast purchase of NBCU looked set. And we might further ask, what was Zucker's boss, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, doing all this time? Was he managing anything other than the Obama suck up account?
The question is, can Burke truly drain this swamp? And what will he do about Keith Olbermann, presiding over his own reign of dysfunction at MSNBC?