How a Megadeal Reunited CNN's Jeff Zucker With a Powerful Old Friend

All agreed that Mr. Zaslav’s takeover raised the percentages that Mr. Zucker would keep put, maybe in an expanded position that encompasses extra of Discovery and Warner’s mixed information and sports activities property. Discovery, as an illustration, owns Eurosport, a European community with broadcast rights to the Olympics and main tournaments in tennis and golf.

“They were a formidable team when they were together at NBC,” mentioned Jeff Gaspin, a former chairman of leisure at NBCUniversal who has labored intently with each males. “They’ll make a formidable team at Warner if Jeff chooses to stay.”

The two males began at NBC within the late Nineteen Eighties. They skilled underneath Jack Welch, the chairman of General Electric, which managed the media firm, and ascended throughout NBC’s “Must See TV” golden age within the Nineteen Nineties.

“It was a time that we would look at each other, and we believed that anything was possible,” Mr. Zaslav as soon as mentioned, reflecting on their salad days at NBC. Mr. Zucker finally turned chief government; Mr. Zaslav left to run Discovery in 2007.

Prickly and blunt, Mr. Zucker isn’t identified for befriending different executives who might grow to be rivals down the highway. But he has mentioned he and Mr. Zaslav grew nearer after they left NBC. Only a handful of visitors had been invited to Mr. Zucker’s intimate fiftieth birthday celebration in 2015 at a resort in Lower Manhattan; Mr. Zaslav and his spouse, Pam, made the lower.

In 2019, when Mr. Zaslav introduced a profession achievement award to Mr. Zucker at a starry luncheon in Midtown Manhattan, he referred to as the NCS president “one of the greatest media leaders of all time.”

Inside NCS, the response to this week’s merger announcement has been happiness and aid. Mr. Zucker’s loyalists had been uneasy in regards to the prospect of his departure, and rumors flew that AT&T, dealing with a large debt burden, would think about promoting the extremely worthwhile information community, maybe leaving it within the arms of an proprietor lower than dedicated to its journalistic mission.