NBC Reorganizes, Jeff Zucker Continues To Ascend

Weeks after a major reorganization at parent General Electric left NBC virtually untouched, the network announced one of its own Monday to prepare for its merger with Vivendi Universal. The moves give Jeff Zucker, president of the entertainment division of NBC, a broader portfolio and role in shaping the future of the entertainment and media conglomerate.

"Today we are announcing a realignment of our operations as part of our efforts to maximize our efficiency, especially as we look to the challenges ahead with the pending Universal merger and integration," said NBC President Bob Wright in memo announcing the reorganization to employees.

The continuing ascendancy of Zucker fuels the belief of some that he is a likely candidate to succeed Wright. Zucker will now also oversee NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC.

Zucker is no stranger to climbing the corporate ladder. After many years as the executive producer of top-rated morning show "Today," Zucker became president of NBC Entertainment in December 2000. In May 2002, he began to oversee NBC Studios and NBC Enterprises, and is also responsible for Telemundo and another recent NBC acquisition, Bravo. He's been an NBC employee since 1986, when he joined the company as a researcher.



Two other longtime NBC executives will also be expanding their roles at the company. Randy Falco, group president of the NBC Television network, will also begin to handle Telemundo Network, which NBC acquired several years ago and has tried to position as a competitor to the dominant player in Spanish-language television, Univision. Falco, who became group president in January, joined NBC in 1975. Jay Ireland, president of the NBC Television Stations Division, will also have responsibility for NBC's 15 owned-and-operated Telemundo Stations. Ireland has been president of the stations group since 1999.

"Jeff has demonstrated strong leadership running our Entertainment division and during his long tenure at the 'Today' show. Randy has led NBC to a record-breaking upfront performance each of the past two years and has played an essential role in virtually every major business success we've had," Wright said. "Jay has skillfully driven growth in his division since assuming leadership of the stations group four years ago. These three experienced leaders will play key roles in our success moving forward."

Left unannounced is who will run the divisions of Universal that will be merging with NBC, which include the USA, Sci Fi, and Trio cable networks. An NBC spokesman told the MediaDailyNews that a decision hadn't been made, but that NBC was looking forward to having the expertise of the executives with Universal.

"Our pending merger with Universal will make us a larger, more diversified media company, and it is imperative that we position ourselves to achieve the best possible results," Wright said. "This organizational alignment will allow us to take full advantage of our leadership team's experience and creativity."

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