The confab kicks off in earnest today with the opening of the exhibition floor and the exhibit suites here at the Mandalay Bay. NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker is the keynoter this ayem. The Peacock’s PR team has promised that he’ll make some news in his remarks. Stay tuned.
Update 10 a.m.:
Well, it was true. Zucker’s remarks were provocative. He bluntly stated that "the historic economic model supporting broadcasting is wounded" and he drew a clear line between the disruption caused by the writers strike as an opportunity for NBC to re-engineer how it handles development and production. He called it an "interesting paradox" and compared it to a forest fire – devastating, "but it may leave behind fertile soil and clear ground and opportunity for robust growth."
Zucker amplified his recent comments about pilots and overall producer deals as out of step with broadcasting’s challenged economics.
"We’re in the middle of a wrenching analog to digital transition that demands a reengineering at the network and the station level," he said.
Going forward, NBC will do far fewer pilots – more like 5 or 6 instead of 20. But he was quick to emphasize that the peacock programmers will also be making more straight to series orders, borrowing a cue from cable and reality tv biz and its reliance on "more instinct and gut."
Zucker reiterated that NBC is unlikely to do a traditional "glitzy" upfront presentation at 30 Rock this year. And he made a big point of hammering the FCC for wrong-headed policy crusades during the past few years, what he called "isolated and disconnected" efforts fueled by "regulatory passions of the moment."
He called for a comprehensive review of communications policy designed for the media landscape "of 2008, not 1948."