NBC yesterday named "Today" show executive producer Jeff Zucker as the network's new entertainment president, replacing Garth Ancier, who only held the No. 1 programming slot for about 18 months.
Zucker, who comes from a news division background, will jump into a job with a high turnover rate.
NBC West Coast president Scott Sassa said Zucker understands the television business and will offer a fresh point of view of the business. He also touted Ancier's background with reality television.
"I'm incredibly excited and thrilled at the opportunity," Zucker said in a teleconference with reporters. "I have a tremendous amount to learn and I know there's a great team out there to teach and help me."
Zucker said he'd miss working with "Today" anchors Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, and he said telling them about his new job was a difficult conversation.
Sassa said he respects Ancier, but that "this was not the right fit for him and we decided a change should be made."
Ancier came under fire from NBC's top honchos last summer for failing to develop a reality series when CBS's "Survivor" became the rage. His standing wasn't helped when the fall schedule he developed failed to deliver viewers. NBC has canceled four of its seven new series and only "Ed" has achieved any ratings momentum. In a conference call with reporters last month Sassa refused to offer a vote of confidence on his behalf. Sassa said Ancier will have a deal with NBC to develop new series. (Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)
"NORMAL" NO MORE: Daily Variety reports Fox has canceled the John Goodman sitcom "Normal, Ohio." "Grounded for Life," a new family comedy, will take its 8:30 p.m. Wednesday time slot beginning Jan. 10.
Following "Grounded for Life" at 9, Fox will broadcast the reality show "Temptation Island," featuring Clairton native YaVonne Brown. The six-episode series features four couples who travel to a Caribbean paradise where they're met by 30 "fantasy singles," 15 men and 15 women who will tempt the couples to reconsider their relationships. Brown, in her 20s, was one of the temptresses.
Over at ABC, after just one terrible episode last Friday, the network canceled "Dot Comedy." It's expected the network will double run "Two Guys and a Girl." (R.O.)