Former NBCU boss to start at cabler in January

It’s official: Jeff Zucker will take the reins of CNN Worldwide as president of the global news network, said Phil Kent, CEO of CNN parent Turner Broadcasting. He starts in January, faced with turning around ratings at the net, which has been in a slump but still reaches over 2 billion people in 200 countries.

Zucker will report to Kent and will be based at CNN in New York.

He currently exec produces syndicated daytime show “Katie.” He had been CEO of NBCUniversal but left after Comcast completed its acquisition of the company, having failed to turn around NBC, but with a string of other achievements in his 25-year television career.

“Jeff’s experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success,” said Kent. “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. As a programmer, a brand-builder and a leader, he will bring energy and new thinking to CNN. I couldn’t be happier to welcome him or more excited about what he’ll accomplish here.”

Zucker started with NBC as a researcher for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games. He was named exec producer of the “Today” show in 1992 and grew it into a ratings and profit powerhouse. He went on to produce the “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” and the network’s coverage of the Persian Gulf War, the 1993 and 1997 presidential inaugurations, and the 2000 elections.

He was promoted to president of NBC Entertainment, president of the NBC Entertainment, News & Cable group, and CEO of the NBC Universal Television Group.

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