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NBC Universal's Jeff Zucker says company has not done good job with network and he likes his new Comcast bosses

December 7, 2009 |  2:01 pm

NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker got through an hour-long interview at the UBS media conference in New York without having to field one question about Jay Leno's performance in prime time on NBC.

And since no one was asking, Zucker wasn't going to volunteer his assessment on how the late-night king turned prime-time afterthought was performing.

But Zucker, who said he is staying on as CEO of NBC Universal when cable giant Comcast Corp. completes its deal to take control of the company from General Electric Co., acknowledged, "We haven't done a good enough job" at the network. In fact, Zucker said that at least three times during the interview. Always one to find a bright spot, Zucker did note: "We probably have nothing but upside going forward" at NBC Entertainment.

Zucker thinks NBC and its various assets will be better off going forward now that it is part of a pure-play media company as opposed to being something of an odd man out at General Electric.

"They're committed to the media business," Zucker said of Comcast. "We will be a better company because of this move going forward."

Zucker threw some cold water on the talk that the combination of Comcast, which owns several regional sports channels as well as the Golf Channel and Versus, could team up with NBC Universal on a real competitor to Disney's powerhouse ESPN.

"The fact is ESPN is the best in its class, nobody should think this is going to be another ESPN," he said. We're sure if it meant lower costs, there are a few cable operators and consumers who wouldn't mind another ESPN.

-- Joe Flint