|Fat Actress||2005 2005||Actor||Himself||20057|
|Remembering Tim Russert||2008 2007 - 2008||Actor||(President and CEO, NBC Universal)||20087|
|My Name is Earl||2008 2008||Actor||Himself||20087|
|The Practice||2003 2002 - 2003||Actor||n/a||20037|
|The E! True Hollywood Story: Heather Locklear||2004 2003 - 2004||Actor||Interviewee||20047|
|Today||2013 1951 - 2013||Supervising Producer||(12/90 - 1/92)||1|
|Hillary: America's First Lady||1993 1992 - 1993||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Decision '96: The Republican National Convention||1996 1995 - 1996||Executive Producer||(NBC)||1|
|Decision '96: The Democratic National Convention||1996 1995 - 1996||Executive Producer||(NBC)||1|
|Hillary: America's First Lady||1993 1992 - 1993||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Inaugural '93||1993 1992 - 1993||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Now With Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric||1994 1992 - 1994||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|58 Days||1993 1992 - 1993||Executive Producer||n/a||1|
|Katie||2013 1951 - 1956, 1958 - 2013||Showrunner||n/a||1|
|The People vs. O.J. Simpson||1994 1993 - 1994||Producer||n/a||3|
|The Lost Youth of Hollywood||1991 1990 - 1991||Producer||n/a||3|
|The Jay Leno Show||2013 1951 - 2013||Network Executive||(NBC)||1|
|Later Today||2013 1951 - 2013||Executive in Charge of Production||n/a||1|
|Joey||2013 1951 - 2013||Network Executive||(NBC)||1|
|Father of the Pride||2013 1951 - 2013||Network Executive||(NBC)||1|
|1988 Summer Olympic Games||1989 1988 - 1989||Research||olympic research||1|
|Reunited with former "Today" anchor Katie Couric to executive produce her talk show "Katie" (ABC)|
|Again promoted to president of NBC's Entertainment, News & Cable Group|
|Promoted to to Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal Television Group|
|Named president of CNN Worldwide|
|Promoted to president of NBC Entertainment|
|Following network's merger with Vivendi Universal, named president of NBC Television Group|
|Began career at NBC as researcher for network's coverage of 1988 Summer Olympic Games|
|Worked as field producer for NBC's "Today" show|
|While attending Harvard, studied in Madrid, Spain through IES Abroad|
|Replaced Bob Wright as president & CEO of NBC Universal|
|Named executive producer of "Today"|
Born April 9, 1965 in Miami, FL, Zucker was raised by his cardiologist father and school teacher mother. An overachiever in high school, he not only qualified for Northwestern University's National High School Institute for Journalism, he was also a part-time freelancer for The Miami Herald. During his senior year while attending Harvard University, Zucker was named president of the school's newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, where he good-naturedly stoked the ongoing rivalry with the other campus publication, The Harvard Lampoon, edited at the time by future NBC player, Conan O'Brien. Following his graduation with a bachelor's degree in American history in 1986, Zucker sought admission to the Harvard School of Law, only to be denied. Instead, he took a job researching material for NBC's coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics, which were held in South Korea. His two-year job took him around the globe, as he assembled background information and stories for use during the broadcast of the games themselves.
A rising star from the start, Zucker was promoted in 1989 to field producer on the "Today" (1952- ) show, where he quickly established himself as something of a wunderkind. In 1990, he was chosen as Katie Couric's producer when she became the show's national correspondent. Two years later, at 26 years old, he was named executive producer and earned special press attention due to his young age. At the same time, he served as the executive producer of the "NBC Nightly News" (1970- ) with Tom Brokaw. Under his watch, "Today" - which had been on the air with a wide array of hosts since 1952 - became a ratings bonanza, thanks in part to Zucker's efforts to increase the hipness of the show. Though long-running staples such as cooking segments and informational interviews were retained, Zucker introduced the outdoor rock concert featuring top musical artists of the day. The segment quickly became a hit and later a staple of the show. Meanwhile, he returned the show to its former address at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and revived the old "Today" show tradition of broadcasting in front of large windows facing the street where passers-by could watch and be seen on screen.
While overcoming colon cancer at the age of 31, Zucker steered the "Today" show into the most-watched morning news show, which earned the highest ratings in its long on-air history. As a result, Zucker was promoted to NBC's primetime programming and was named president of NBC Entertainment. During the early part of his tenure, he had managed a few big successes with reality shows such as "The Apprentice" (2004- ) and "Fear Factor" (2001-06). But Zucker also inherited a programming schedule whose frontrunners "Friends" (1994-2004), "Frasier" (1993-2004) and even "Will & Grace" (1998-2006) were already showing signs of slowing down. Despite ratings success with dramas like "The West Wing" (1999-2006) and multiple formats for the "Law & Order" (1990- ) franchise, the dearth of new comedies falling short was a blemish on Zucker's record for awhile. With the comedy slump in mind, NBC scored new hits such as "Scrubs" (2001- ), "My Name is Earl" (2005- ), the U.S. version of "The Office" (2005- ) and the critical darling, "30 Rock" (2006- ). Zucker seemingly turned things around and made NBC competitive for the next decade.
But just when it looked as if the wonder boy could do no wrong, the situation at NBC went quickly out of hand, as the network suffered a series of debacles that transformed the once mighty peacock into a ratings loser. In 2005, Zucker was named CEO of NBC Universal Television Group, reporting directly to Robert Wright, Vice Chairman of corporate owner General Electric. With many eyes on the 2006 fall line-up, Zucker's NBC found itself in third place for the first time in many years. He pinned his hopes of resurrecting the network on such offerings as the Aaron Sorkin-produced drama, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (2006- ), but suffered the indignity of canceling the much-hyped series due to poor ratings after just one season. Regardless of the setback and the fact that NBC had started to become an industry laughingstock, Zucker was again promoted in early 2007, this time taking the title of President and CEO of NBC Universal, filling the empty space left behind by Wright.
In 2008, Zucker made, what in hindsight, was a major miscalculation by letting top-rated late night host Jay Leno leave "The Tonight Show" after his contract expired. For months, media critics speculated whether or not Leno would remain host while the expiration date on his contract loomed. Finally, it was revealed that college-kid favorite Conan O'Brien would take over for Leno, who in turn was suddenly given his own hour-long spot at the 10 o'clock hour - a spot usually held by hour dramas and news magazine shows. Zucker's decision to give Leno the primetime spot, which came following the WGA strike that wrecked havoc on the industry, was in part driven by his own hubris to transform television in the modern information age, as well as equal parts Leno not being able to walk away from the spotlight. But all Zucker really managed to do was stoke the ire of drama writers and production crews put out of work, while drawing fire from all corners for dulling the shine of O'Brien's new reign as the host of "The Tonight Show" by having Leno as lead-in again. Making matters worse was NBC's fall to fourth place, spurred in part by Zucker protégé, Ben Silverman, a former packager at William Morris who became co-chairman of NBC Entertainment in a disastrous reign that earned heaps of scorn and ridicule, thanks to his lack of hits and hard-partying ways.
While Silverman left NBC in utter disgrace in 2009, Zucker continued to fail upwards, solidifying his spot for another three years when General Electric sold its controlling interest in NBC Universal to cable provider Comcast. Somehow, someway he managed to survive the carnage. Some speculated that though the NBC network was in a massive slump, Zucker managed to score major ratings winners with the company's cable stations, like USA Network, Bravo, Syfy and Telemundo, while Universal Studios churned out hit movies like "Inglourious Basterds" (2009) and "Fast & Furious" (2009). But the albatross around Zucker's neck remained the network, which grew even heavier when it became apparent to all that his experiment with 10 p.m. "The Jay Leno Show" (2009- ) was a dismal failure in the ratings, hurting both the network and affiliates who were losing the lead-in for their local newscasts. In fact, the decision to move Leno to primetime was deemed one of the worst - if not the worst - decision in television history.
In only the first days of 2010, news came to light that "The Jay Leno Show" was being effectively canceled, while Leno was to return to 11:35, followed by a move for O'Brien's "Tonight Show" to 12:05. But a shocked and defiant O'Brien refused in both a written letter and several monologues to make the move, leaving Zucker with a colossal mess that included shots fired across NBC's bow by both hosts, while other late night gabbers like Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel and debacle beneficiary David Letterman chimed in. Rumors began to swirl about the fate of O'Brien, with many speculating that he would make the jump to FOX, a network that long-hungered for a late night show. With comedians taking sides - mostly for O'Brien - a grassroots effort took shape across the Internet, with Facebook and Twitter groups being launched in support of Conan O'Brien ("I'm with Coco!") while average Americans - those with no vested interest in corporate deal-making/shenanigans - began threatening to boycott all things NBC if their red-headed underdog was yanked off of his dream job after only seven months.
While both O'Brien and Leno kept up their monologue assault on the network and each other, rumors from behind the scenes ran rampant, with some speculating that Leno might also be willing to leave the network and others claiming that executives, including Zucker, were determined to play hardball with O'Brien if he did not agree to move "The Tonight Show" to tomorrow, effectively. Zucker was largely seen by many to be the cause of the debacle, though it remained to be seen whether or not he would suffer any long-term consequences. By September, it was apparent that he would. NBC's new parent company, Comcast, asked the CEO to step down in September 2010, giving him a reported $30-40 million for his trouble. After laying low for much of 2011, Zucker reunited with former "Today" host Katie Couric to produce her new daytime talk show, "Katie" (ABC, 2012- ), after she departed the CBS News anchor chair the previous year. But Zucker's tenure on her show lasted just a scant few months when it was announced in November 2012 that he was taking over as president of CNN Worldwide starting in January 2013.
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