"I think that the most important thing for a television producer and a television executive to do is to have passion. If they don't love what they're doing and write about what they believe in or write about what they know or go with their gut as an executive, then they're going to be lost."
About This Interview
In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Jeff Zucker talks about his upbringing in Florida and his college years at Harvard. He discusses his early interest in journalism and his first job in television, as an NBC Researcher for the 1984 Olympics. He then details his time at Today, working his way up to Executive Producer of the show and overseeing the hiring of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer as co-hosts of the show. Zucker discusses his work as an executive at NBC and his eventual rise to CEO of NBC Universal Television Group, touching on, among other topics, the NBC Universal merger, the rise of reality television, and his idea to "supersize" NBC shows. He talks about specific shows he has overseen and championed, including Friends, The Apprentice, The Office, and 30 Rock, as well as discussing the then-current television and digital media landscape. He also touches on the then-upcoming transition from Jay Leno to Conan O'Brien as host of The Tonight Show. He concludes by giving advice to aspiring producers and executives. Dan Pasternack and Karen Herman conducted the interview on June 22, 2009 and August 11, 2009 in New York, NY.