Jeff Zucker Resigns as Chief of NBC Universal: Are Florida Politics in His Future?
After months of speculation, Jeff Zucker has involuntarily resigned as head of NBC Universal. The Homestead native and graduate of North Miami Senior High who did time as a freelancer for The Herald, was largely believed to have "failed upward" into his role President and CEO of NBC Universal. His departure comes before the company officially merges with Comcast.
At only 45, Zucker still has a lot of life before him and has mentioned the possibility of running for politics. Could he be coming back home to Florida one day to run for office?
After joining NBC after graduating from Harvard, Zucker quickly became executive producer of the Today Show. With the help of perky on-air talent Katie Couric, plucked from local station WTVJ, he turned the show into a ratings juggernaut. In 2000, NBC took a risk by promoting the newsman to head of NBC Entertainment. Though, under his watch the channel's ratings faltered as he failed to find replacement for hits like Friends and Seinfeld.
Among his most notable failures was Good Morning Miami, a show said to be loosely based on his life.
Promotions however followed, and he became President & CEO of NBC Universal.
Now the he's out, what does he do next? Well he's often talked about running for political office.
"I've been around enough campaigns to see the similarity," Zucker told The New York Times Magazine in 2001. "In this job, you are beholden to your constituencies. I've never said this before, but I would like to run for office. Being a senator would interest me. But would I do it from New York or Florida, where I'm from? New York is impossible, and Florida has changed so much from when I was a kid, I'd have to figure that out, but politics--running for office--has always intrigued me."
His often talked about running for political office since. Murmurs have connected those aspirations to New York. Though, some analysts suggest he might fare better in Florida.
A second question: Where would he run from? The New York resident grew up just south of Miami, in Homestead, Florida.
Jeff Garcia, a Democratic political media consultant, argues for the latter...
Garcia cites the tact taken by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as a model for Zucker to follow. After losing his first run for Governor, Bush essentially went right back on the campaign trail, spending copious amounts of time traveling around the state, setting up a charter school for inner city youths, and getting as involved as possible in Florida's political machinations. The strategy paid off--Bush won the next election for governor."
We wonder if a guy like Zucker, who ran one of the world's biggest entertainment companies, would be happy in Tallahassee? Most likely he'd run for senate.
Then again, Zucker's political future, if it develops, would likely depend on opportunities. Sen. Bill Nelson, 67, shows no intention of retiring before his next election in 2012. Though, if he does, it might be just the opportunity Zucker would need.
It's not clear to which political party his affiliation lies, and that too, may be a matter of opportunity. Whatever the case may be, Zucker may be an interesting person for Florida political hounds to watch over the next few years.
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