Observing the wacky maneuverings of NBC has been a favorite bloodsport of entertainment writers for a couple years now, and something we at A.V. Club have been powerless to resist. So in that spirit, we bring to you two looming embarrassments addressed today by NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker at the 2009 Media Summit New York:
• On Jon Stewart’s pantsing of CNBC and Jim Cramer—first in a devastating segment that laid out the financial network’s failings and later in a three-part shaming Cramer that aired last Thursday—Zucker came out strong in defense of CNBC’s crack journalism. “I thought [Stewart’s attack] was incredibly unfair to CNBC and the business media in general,” said Zucker. He went on to decry Stewart for choosing selective clips that aren’t reflective of the network’s mission or verity as a whole, and also hailed Cramer and his show, Mad Money, for making the right calls every once in a while. Overall, he said CNBC was doing a “tremendous job.” So heckuva job, CNBC.
• On the brazen move to keep Jay Leno on the network by airing his new talk show every night during primetime (10 p.m. ET), Zucker implied that its actions reflected some setbacks: “Sometimes, you see the world more clearly when you're flat on your back.” While stopping short of any contingency plan should the Leno gambit fail—thus leaving NBC with a massive five-hour hole in its programming calendar—Zucker did suggest that expectations are modest and that the success of Leno’s show won’t be measured against other primetime dramas in that time slot. “It's a proactive, exciting attempt to change the model,” he said.