Jeff Zucker, former NBCUniversal head turned CNN Worldwide president is best known for architechting Jay Leno's astronomical rise to the most hated talk show host in America. But now Zucker has an inspired new idea: bring Leno—the guy he fucked over—to CNN. What could go wrong?
Third-place primetime news network CNN, whose main ratings successes this year have been repeated airings of Blackfish and Sunday night food explorations with Anthony Bourdain, is looking to increase its viewership in the key 25-54 demographic by injecting youth and humor into its nightly news lineup. And nothing says youth and humor like the 63-year-old Leno pointing out hilarious typos in headlines.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Zucker is amongst the many suitors wooing Leno for a potential late-night or primetime show after his run on NBC's The Tonight Show ends Feb. 6. Can you imagine their meeting? Awkward hellos and sheepish glances down, a quick "I was in a really bad place then, you know?" and an even quicker "but I'm doing so much better now. You look like you are too."
It seems unlikely that Leno would sign on with the guy who fired him, embarrassed him, and then rehired him, but it also seems Leno's constant need for camera time transcends any modicum of self respect. But if Leno does choose to sign on with CNN, perhaps Zucker can embarrass him again. However, Leno might be able to take care of that himself: "Did you see Leno on CNN last night?" asks your dad. "Fuck no," answers every 25-54-year-old on the planet.
Hire away, Zucker. While this is probably not the "attitude and take" your youthful non-viewers want, it probably won't matter as long as you line up more edgy Sea World documentaries along the way.