CNN looking to former NBC head Jeff Zucker’s playbook to make a comeback

Jeff Poor Media Reporter

A Wednesday story by New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter revealed that former NBCUniversal chief executive Jeff Zucker was to be named the top executive at CNN Worldwide.

But if Zucker’s past is any indication, could this mean a more left-leaning CNN? According to Stelter’s report — despite its profitability — there is a lack of direction at CNN.

“Though CNN over all is on track to have its most profitable year ever, its flagship channel in the United States is seemingly rudderless, run by layers of producers and executives — many with competing visions,” Stelter wrote. “Its low prime-time ratings are the stuff of punch lines and a journalism school case study in the damage wrought by the digital age.”

That could open the door for Zucker to import the ideology he left behind at NBCUniversal with the company’s cable news channel MSNBC. With Zucker at the helm, MSNBC made its full evolution to the left-leaning network it is today.

And as pointed out by Pajamas Media blogger Ed Driscoll, this was a possibility some had suggested for CNN long ago, including by conservative talker Rush Limbaugh back in July.

On his July 10 program, Limbaugh noted that CNN had reported a 20-year low in its ratings according to Nielsen TV data and predicted a leftward shift.

“I think I figured out what CNN’s going do to try to recapture their lost glory,” Limbaugh said. “I think they’re going to move further to the left, try to even ‘out-left’ MSNBC. That’s based on a couple of things I’ve seen. It’s too early to know for certain. Too soon to tell right now. But it looks to me like that CNN is going to move even further left in their valiant effort to recapture the 98 percent of their audience that they’ve lost since the 1980s.”

Zucker, the ultimate choice in the four-month search, is set to replace outgoing president Jim Walton.

While president of NBC television group, Zucker led NBC into last place among broadcast networks.

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