UPDATE: No embed code, so here’s a link to last night’s interview with Jeff Zucker.
Jeff Zucker says he’s gotten death threats over the dumping of Conan O’Brien, which he says was nothing more than "a business decision."
As Zucker’s media rehab tour continued Monday — he talked to the New York Times for a Sunday story — Zucker told WNET’s Charlie Rose that NBC executives have gotten death threats over the O’Brien choice.
"It’s been crazy," Zucker said.
Zucker admitted that NBC had tried to find a compromise solution. But O’Brien didn’t seem interested, he said.
"Ultimately he couldn’t get his head around it," Zucker said, according to a Twitter report from Broadcasting & Cable. "We didn’t have all the time and all the room to make everyone happy."
Twitter reaction to Zucker’s interview indicated that Rose may have been unusually tough on Zucker, asking at one point whether his company was "in shambles."
Other highlights from the chat, which airs tonight on various PBS stations:
– “We made a business decision here, and so we believe we’ve made the right business decision. We think that Jay, who was the ratings champ in late night for almost 15 years, will go back to 11:35 and be successful.
– “You know, what Conan decides to do, obviously, is up to Conan, and we don’t wish him any ill will at all. He’ll make a decision that’s in his best interest, but we made a business decision that’s in our best interest, and that’s really what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to make hard business decisions without any personal feelings, and that’s what we’re supposed to do, and that’s what we’ve done here.”
– “I’m a big enough boy to know that I have to accept responsibility when things don’t work. I go back and said you know I’m happy to step up and take responsibility for things that don’t work. Not everything is going to work.”
– “I think it’s the sign of a leader to step up and say, you know, when something’s not working, to have the guts to reverse it. And the worst thing you can do is to let that mistake linger. And really, that’s what we’ve tried to do here. We tried to correct something that didn’t work. We’re not in denial about that. We’re not burying our heads. Leadership is about taking chances and taking risks. And also, leadership is about acknowledging when they don’t work.”