President Trump’s steady stream of attacks on CNN’s credibility has not hurt the news organization’s reputation in the minds of consumers, nor has it scared away any advertisers. That was the word from CNN president Jeff Zucker and top Turner execs Thursday at a state-of-the-company luncheon presentation in Manhattan.Zucker said CNN conducted its largest-ever brand survey last month out of a desire to gauge whether Trump’s broadsides about CNN serving up “fake news” were having a lasting impact on prospective...
Jeff Zucker honed his nose for news as the youngest executive producer in the history of “Today,” which he guided to juggernaut status. That propelled him to a meteoric rise at the company culminating with being named NBC’s president and CEO in 2007. During what some might call a turbulent tenure at the Peacock, Zucker greenlit shows including “Friday Night Lights,” “The Voice” and even “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump.
His willingness to make tough game-changing decisions was exactly what CNN needed when he came on board in 2013. He now oversees CNN, CNN International, HLN, and all of the company’s digital properties including the Great Big Story platform.
Faced with stiff competition from Fox News on the right and MSNBC on the left, Zucker arrived when CNN’s ratings were dismal. He invested $20 million into CNN’s digital efforts and added unscripted fare like “This is Life with Lisa Ling,” and the Emmy-winning “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown,” which attracted new viewers and advertisers to CNN. This election season, CNN saw some of its highest ratings in years, buoyed by an electrifying but controversial presidential race during which Zucker was something of a lightning rod. It has stayed that way well into the Trump presidency as CNN has been ripped for “fake news” repeatedly by conservative critics.
“There’s a tendency for television networks to interrupt the program for additional commentary,” Zucker told Variety earlier this year, noting CNN has plenty of time for post-event commentary. “The audience would rather see what’s happening. As I like to say, we’re never off the air.”