Ousted exec touts accomplishments
Ousted NBC Entertainment president Garth Ancier says he has no regrets about leaving the WB to head up the Peacock net — despite his abbreviated tenure.
But in his first interview since getting the hook, Ancier — who’s being replaced by “Today” exec producer Jeff Zucker — said he believes NBC brass simply decided he wasn’t the right fit for the network.
“Their feeling was, it wasn’t a good match,” Ancier said. “I’m sorry because I enjoyed my time at the network.”
Ancier said he leaves NBC pleased with what he’s been able to accomplish.
“When the network is No. 1 in homes, viewers and demos, I can’t feel that terrible with what I leave behind as a legacy,” he said. “It’s been challenging though, no question.”
While many of his Frog peers had warned Ancier about going to a Big Three net, the exec said he simply was compelled to take the chance.
“Emotionally, I had to do this,” he said. “(NBC) is where I started. When you start at a company and have a mentor like Brandon (Tartikoff, the late NBC topper), and you’re offered his job and the chance to lead the company again, it has too much of a sentimental lure.”
Zucker, who’s expected to begin his new position at the start of the year, was an unexpected choice to replace Ancier.
Rumors of Ancier’s departure have been swirling for months, and heated up again a few weeks ago when NBC West Coast topper Scott Sassa refused to offer a public show of support for his beleaguered lieutenant. Buzz about an Ancier replacement had centered around NBC Studios chief Ted Harbert, even though Harbert had always publicly denied any interest in the gig.
Zucker’s ascension is not a complete surprise. During Zucker’s previous contract negotiations with NBC, word had leaked out that the the one-time wunderkind news exec was interested in moving west and taking on a job in showbiz. He’s also a fave of NBC topper Bob Wright, making such a transition more likely.
Ancier rejoined the Peacock in May 1999. The exec came to the net from the WB, where he had served as entertainment president since the Frog’s 1994 launch.