Saturday, July 20, 2024

Zucker Unbound! CBS News Change, Paramount Sale Points Former CNN Chief to Tiffany Network


Jeff Zucker is coming back!

Sources tell me that today’s announcement that CBS News chief Ingrid Cipirian-Matthews is gone probably means one thing: the return of Jeff Zucker.

What’s going on here? Zucker — who ran CNN and NBC and desperately wants to return to power — is partners in real life Jeff Shell, former NBC Universal chairman. Shell is also now partnered with Zucker in Red Bird Capital, a media capital firm that’s been trying to buy something big.

At the same time, Shell is working hand in hand with David Ellison of Skydance. They just bought CBS in their Paramount deal. The deal won’t close until next year, and there’s a waiting period now for Paramaount’s Shari Redstone to find a better deal.

But in all likelihood, Ellison has purchased Paramount. And Shell is advising him. First project: give CBS some pizzazz with Zucker.

Does it matter that Shell and Zucker were each ousted from their previous positions? Not at all. In the post-Trump environment, all bets are off. F. Scott Fitzgerald had it wrong. Americans have second, third, and fourth chapters.

At NBC, Zucker did make The today Show into a massive hit. In prime time, for his cycle, his shows were hits. His CNN experience went south as Fox News rose and rose. Zucker was eventually ushered out over having an interoffice romance. No one much cares about that, id they ever did. It was just an excuse to get him out of CNN.

Will Zucker run just CBS News? Or the whole network? There’s time to work that out. But the media world is abuzz.

more to come…

Kevin Costner’s Lost “Horizon”: Entire Project in Limbo Now, with No Deal for Parts 3 and 4 (Exclusive)

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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