CNN has officially named Jeff Zucker as the new Worldwide President. He replaces Jim Walton who announced in July that he would leave the top position in CNN at the end of this year. Zucker will begin his duty in January 2013, reporting to chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting Phil Kent.
"Jeff's experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success," Kent stated on Thursday, November 29. "He built and sustained the number-one brand in morning news, and under his watch NBC's signature news programming set a standard for quality and professionalism... I couldn't be happier to welcome him or more excited about what he'll accomplish here."
Zucker said he's "thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN." He went on gushing, "Outside of my family and the Miami Dolphins, there is nothing I am as passionate about as journalism. I spent the most rewarding years of my career as a journalist, and it's where I look forward to spending many more. I am grateful to Phil Kent for this opportunity, and I'm excited to return to daily newsgathering and compelling storytelling in a place that values those above all else."
Speaking of his vision for CNN, Zucker has shared that he will keep it an "independent voice" rather than follow the footsteps of Fox News Channel or MSNBC, which both have been successful with their format which inserts commentary that swing politically to the right or left.
"Both Fox News Channel and MSNBC do a terrific job at what they do," he commented, but added, "CNN does something different - in a world where Fox and MSNBC exist, CNN becomes all that more important. You don't have to have a political point of view to succeed, you have to be vibrant and exciting, the biggest sin in television is to be boring."
Zucker is currently serving as the executive producer of Katie Couric's syndicated daytime show. It's believed that he won't be able to fulfill his two-year commitment on the show. He, Couric and Disney-ABC Domestic Television have been looking for his replacement.
Congratulating Zucker on his new gig, Couric stated, "I'm very excited that Jeff has such a wonderful opportunity at CNN and equally excited for CNN." Janice Marinelli, President, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, chimed in, "We wish Jeff the very best as he embarks on his new venture... We thank Jeff for his leadership and contributions and wish him great success in his new role of President of CNN Worldwide."