CNN’s Jeff Zucker Fires Back at Fox News’ Roger Ailes

Jeff Zucker
Jim Spellman/WireImage

Former NBC exec also says deals with Jay Leno, Ann Curry not in the cards

CNN chief Jeff Zucker fired back at Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes on Friday, saying his understanding is that an upcoming Ailes biography “confirms what we’ve known along, which is the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp. headquarters, masquerading as a cable channel.”

Speaking at the TV Critics Assn. tour Friday, Zucker made those remarks in response to an interview Ailes had given in which he said CNN is getting out of the news business. The CNN Worldwide president countered by saying the network remained committed to news but that his goal is to “broaden the definition of offerings” on the network by including more series and documentary films, such as programs fronted by Morgan Spurlock and Anthony Bourdain, as well as the acclaimed documentary “Blackfish.”

Zucker dismissed Ailes’ criticism as “meant to deflect your attention from the book this week” and “silly.” Prior to the session, Zucker also told Variety that CNN would cover the Ailes book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” by Gabriel Sherman, calling it a legitimate news story given the implications of the role Fox News plays in relationship to the Republican Party and national politics.

Of course, any coverage on CNN or MSNBC of the Ailes book will almost surely be derided as sour grapes by Ailes and his allies, who have been mounting a pushback campaign against the book and Sherman prior to its release later this month.

On other fronts, Zucker threw cold water on speculation that he might try to jump-start the news channel’s ratings by hiring a soon to be out of work Jay Leno. Zucker said latenight is “not a priority” at this time, adding, “Obviously, I have a long relationship with Jay, I think he’s a terrific talent.” He also noted that another NBC veteran, Ann Curry, is not available, suggesting that virtually everyone he ever worked with in the past was inevitably subject to conjecture about a move to CNN.

Zucker has augmented the network’s lineup with three significant hires from ABC News — Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo and Bill Weir — but the network’s ratings and the changes already made under Zucker have fueled speculation about a broader shakeup of the primetime roster.

Before his direct rejoinder to Ailes, Zucker referred to rivals Fox News and MSNBC as “two partisan networks, that are looking out for their viewers.” He suggested, as the network long has, that CNN can occupy a neutral middle ground.

A year into Zucker’s stint as CNN president, media outlets have been taking inventory of where the network stands, and the progress, or lack thereof, under his stewardship.

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  1. Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

    Jeff Zucker is The Real Joker…failing at everything since he left The Today Show in the 1900’s.
    He even fails at the truth and that’s not good for CNN.
    Seen its news ratings lately, if you can find any news on CNN?

    If Jeff thinks FOX News is a joke, then he needs to think again, if capable.

    “We report. YOU decide.” is not a slogan! It’s the nature of the beast….
    the TV News Leader for 20 years.

    FOX News reflects America as it is in 2015. Like it, or not!

    Mr. Ailes has taught a group of journalists how to get people to pay attention to the news.

    When the best parts of CNN’s AC360 are outtakes from “The Kelly File,”
    then you understand why Roger is the best at what he does…not the self appointed Prince Jeff.

    Rupert Murdoch could not have a better business head and he knows it.

    Mr. Ailes personifies 21st Century Fox as Rupert Murdoch intends it to be.
    Congratulations, FNN & 21st CF!

    Goodbye CNN.

  2. Jim c bull says:

    there is more bullshit on this email site that I have seen in all my life, does anyone trust Obama and his lieing sack of poo who are in the whitehouse now? I am a Vet, and would never render my services to this country again after what I have see him do to the Vets, We risk our lives over there in a foreign country for what so we are treated like shit when we return to this country, don’t even wish to call this my country of mind anymore either.and would never tell anyone from some other foreign country were I come from due to the worse president in this county Histroy. All we have now is dead beets who want work, all the say is Give Me More MOney, due to lazy to work or look for a job, as my father said to me when I was little” if you have a family to feed then you will work doing anything that is possible to do which is honest, NOT Now DAys — NO one wants to work, due to so many hand outs free, so why work, even if this country goes belly up, Disgrace county of the supposely USA in ruins–Sad Vet Retired, and no one has given me this either, I work for it

    • Tarzanjoe says:

      I am a Vietnam Vet and let me assure you idiot, I was disrespected, called names, and the like. I trust Obama before I would ever trust Georgie Bushie Pumpkin Pie, his daddy, Dick I will fuck you Cheney, Rice and for damn sure that freakin ass liar Donald Rumsfeld. So your bullshit mountain ranges in the direction of FAUX NOISE, Rush The Piggy Limbaugh and the other right wingers that pretend that they have news on their blogging sites!!! So go back to a deep kool-aid sleep and don’t wake until you got some damn sense in that senseless brain of yours.

  3. Jim c bull says:

    Yes, all of the TV personnel there are nothing more than do as they say people at ABC,NBC,CBS &CNN tv networks who only want the Demos to come out on top, Would like to know why these same stations got run out of Thailand in 2010 when all they did was show there view point and not what happen there, like with CNN TV lady who did the reporting there from her 3th floor Hotel Bacony, and then she said it wasn’t True, Then why did the Thailand government tell all of them to get out of Thailand?? This is the only type of reporting they know how to do anyway, so who is going to believe them anyway

  4. bptr says:

    First of all, you can easily tell by the picture there that Jeff Zucker has the dead tongue of an obvious cigar smoker – i.e. wheeler-dealer fat cat head honcho type.
    CNN played MARCH OF THE PENGUINS umpteen times recently!! How is this news????

    I constantly hear that there are countless news channels on cable now. In fact there almost almost NONE!! It is all “infotainent” garbage now.

    Roger AiIles is right about CNN. But not that he deals in news at all. Ailes should be hanged for TREASON for the brainwashing of the moron masses with his FAUX “news” bullshit lies.

  5. ให้บริการติดตั้ง กล้องวงจรปิดเชียงราย (CCTV) โดยมีทีมงานให้บริการด้านงานติดตั้ง ทีมวิศวกรช่างเทคนิคและช่างฝีมือที่มีความสามารถเพื่อให้บริการงานด้านติด ตั้ง

    เพื่อตอบสนองความต้องการของผู้บริโภค ที่มีมากขึ้นในปัจจุบัน เนื่องจากสถิติการก่ออาชญากรรมที่เพิ่มขึ้น ทั้งการโจรกรรมทรัพย์สินภายในที่พักอาศัย
    อาคาร สำนักงานต่างๆ รวมไปถึงการก่ออาชญากรรมอื่นๆที่กล้องวงจรปิด สามารถบันทึกภาพเพื่อนำไปสู่การจับกุมผู้กระทำความผิดได้
    ดังนั้น เพื่อเพิ่มความมั่นใจให้กับผู้อยู่อาศัยในสถานที่ต่างๆ การติดตั้งกล้องวงจรปิด จึงเป็นการเพิ่มความปลอดภัยอีกทางเลือกหนึ่ง

  6. scottwil says:

    Whatever you do, Keep Erin Burnett on.

  7. Clemmieo says:

    I agree completely! The complainer is the one who is really at fault because if we complain enough, the Medusa has to listen; problem is that we are a half of the audience whose opinion is not respected. So, let them be hoist on their own petard, and that hoist is getting more and more shredded!

  8. Clemmieo says:

    So true. I think if we want a fair discussion, we have to admit that Fox tends to be Conservative and the remainder of the Cable News tend to be Democratic-Liberal. Once you know that, you have the full story, and watch whichever channel you prefer, at your own peril or continuing lack of factual information and news. But many folks, from the Left or the Right just don’t see that especially when it comes to their favorite channel “news” show. The news they want to hear is what they believe. But it is good to see the other side of the story too in order to make intelligent decisions, especially when it comes to voting. What is so amazing to me, is that it only takes a phrase or a sentence even, to give the other side of a story. Then the listener gets a broader picture and can investigate further on h/h own.

    • bptr says:

      “Fox tends to be Conservative” ??? What planet do you live on?
      Fox News is complete bullshit lies and 24-hour Obama bashing.

      You are wrong, There are not “two sides” to news now. People like you think that if you take the middle of the road view then it must be somehow fair and balanced and more accurate.

      The reality is, the Liberals tell the truth, and the “Conservatives” (who believe in conserving nothing) lie their ass off because they have no scruples at all and will do absolutely anything (lie, cheat, steal, and kill) to achieve their warped agenda which consists of brainwashing the masses of morons into supporting them so that they can do whatever the venal corporate profiteers – currently hording trillions in cash profit worldwide while creating no new jobs and no pay raises – and special interest groups calling themself “conservative” want.

      You are completely naive.

  9. Michael Anthony says:

    Interesting to read the responses from the right wing and Fox supporters. Not one if them addresses what Zucker said about the network. They can certainly bash the left and CNN, but they can’t defend Fox. They never do.

  10. Chuck Kopsho says:

    MSNBC and CNN get miserable ratings when put up against FOX News, all you have to do is look at both Nielsen and Arbitron for evidence. ’nuff said.

    • Tarzanjoe says:

      Your joking, and then you know that red states rural areas receive FAUX NOISE as basic television? The average age of a FAUX INFOMERCIAL is 60 and these people are sitting on their asses because they have no real lives!!! Their is always educational ways to learn about the world news and local news and nation news. However, its obvious that you are a FAUX NOISE VIEWER!!!! Fact check your ratings and you will find some really interesting evidence regarding FAUX NOISE!!!

    • Liz says:

      Let’s be honest, Chuck, STUPIDITY sells.

      • Tarzanjoe says:

        And the stupidity ranks FAUX NEWS VIEWER the most stupid of all cable news outlets!!! Damn its nice to know that the stupid party attracts its sheeps!!!

    • Liz says:

      All the hight ratings that FOX News gets proves only one thing, that there is a high amount of unintelligent, racist people living in this country. You can’t call the people in front of the camera throughout the day Journalists. They’re not. Come to think of it, you can’t call them people either. Fact!

  11. Michael Aldridge says:

    The trouble with CNN isn’t the broadening of its offerings, which is a good thing, but the fact that CNN isn’t in the news business. It’s in the commentary business, which nobody needs more of in 2014.

  12. Mister T says:

    He ran NBC into the ground, screwed Conan O’Brian over and is a total moron. Seriously, why is this man leading any reputable companies. He might have better luck dressing as a clown at a 5 year old’s birthday party and I still would be scared that he would screw that up. Can life give this loser a good kick in the ass already.

    • Smooth says:

      Zucker is hardly a loser. You’re reading about him, he’s not reading about you. Take that nonsense to another blog.

  13. Mister T says:

    He ran NBC into the ground, screwed Conan O’Brian over and is a total moron. Seriously, why is this man leading any reputable companies. He might have better luck dressing as a clown a 5 year old’s birthday party and I still would be scared that he would screw that up. Can life already give this loser a good kick in the ass already.

  14. Well, Zucker’s remark should remove any doubt as to his political leanings and the direction he will continue to take CNN. I’m amazed at the people that have no problem discerning the conservative bias of Fox, but don’t see the liberal bias of CNN and so many others. It is what it is. Don’t try to label any of it as news without spin.

  15. Nanny Mo says:

    Zucker is the pot calling the kettle black. I’d be too embarrassed to open my mouth if I were Zucker. How many things has he run into the ground and yet he works? Who does he know and why is he still leading anything at all? Here’s some money Zuck, could you lose it for me?

  16. Rosita Asanoit says:

    So I take it that you watch all of those channels. I always thought ESPN was a sports channel.

  17. Mr. Zucker, taking shots at Roger Ailes will not improve CNN!


    thank you

  19. blancojoe says:

    Ailes is a big time winner, while Zucker is a big time loser. What is the problem here?

    • bptr says:

      Roger Ailes is one of the biggest assholes on the planet. He has managed to brainwash all the idiots of this country into going along with the Republican Party’s completely warped agenda which is ruining this country.

      Grow a brain.

  20. Bill says:

    No shock that a desperate man hangs his hat on a book already proven to be a libelous fabrication.

  21. Uncle Rufus says:

    A desperate claim from a desperate (and pathetic) man.

  22. Dick Zucker says:

    How does Dick Zucker have any room to talk? With clowns like Piers Morgan and his gun contral rants on every night he can’t claim to have a non-partisan channel. His panties are in a bunch because Ailes is right. CNN isn’t a news station anymore and the only way they can get more viewers than the Cartoon Network is by running documentaries on Sea World.

  23. TJG says:

    Typical liberal, can’t can’t compete with ideas so he resorts to name calling.

    CNN wil never succeed because they refuse to understand that the American people are tired of being fed liberal lies.

    • bptr says:

      Yeah, only ONE network – which happens to be owned by the hugest media conglomerate on the planet – tells the truth and all the rest are lying. DUH
      Why don’t you just join a cult? Could you be any more gullibler?

      You Fox Zombies are truly amazing. Do any of you ever READ???

    • Scooby Doo says:

      It’s interesting because a small number of people watch Cable News when you look at how many subscribe to Satellite or Cable Services and what they watch…only a small percentage watch CNN or Fox News. Your statement should say that the american people are tired of being fed liberal and conservative lies because I guarantee you there are plenty of lies on both sides.

      • Truth says:

        Well said Scooby Doo.
        BOTH sides LIE. Neither are objective or bi-partisan (don’t think either network knows the meaning of the word).

  24. Laurie says:

    If Zucker had performed 1/4 as well as Ailes, he wouldnt have been fired from NBC. Zucker rhymes with hooker and its not a coincidence.

    • bptr says:

      By “well” you mean make money at all cost. right?

      You are another brainwashed “greed is good” zombie who is being enslaved by the 1% but keeps asking for more.

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