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CNN chief Jeff Zucker appeared at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena on Friday, where he talked about the struggling news network’s future direction. He said that CNN is still dedicated to news, despite recent moves to bring other style of programming to the network. He also slammed his competitors, particularly Fox News.
“CNN is not and never will abandon our first and fundamental brand equity, which is news and breaking news,” Zucker told reporters at the event, reports The Los Angeles Times. Still, the former Today Show executive producer and NBCUniversal chief executive admitted that he wished CNN’s programming had “a little bit more passion.”
Additionally, Zucker is all for expanding CNN’s horizons. Since Zucker took over last year, the network has experienced success with CNN Films documentaries, particularly Blackfish, the Sea World exposé. Its next original documentary is Chicagoland, which looks at Chicago politics.
Zucker also took aim at Fox News and News Corp., notes The Hollywood Reporter. Fox News chief Roger Ailes has been in the news this week because of an unauthorized biography that has attempted to pull back the curtain on the network. Zucker also responded to comments Ailes made in a mid-December interview with THR.
“[It] confirms what we've known all along,” Zucker said Friday. “The Republican Party is being run out of News Corp headquarters masquerading as a cable news channel.”
Fox News told THR that those remarks were “nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention from CNN's dismal ratings.”
Zucker also responded to rumors that he was interested in courting Jay Leno to CNN. “We have some other things that I'd like to concentrate on first,” he said. “That's not in the cards anytime soon. I have a longtime relationship with Jay -- I think he's a terrific talent -- but that's not where our priorities are.”
He also confirmed that they are not interested in Ann Curry, who he is sure is not leaving NBC any time soon.