Programming

NATPE 2011: Zucker: Olbermann an "Incredible Talent"

 Also says he's now bullish on broadcast 1/24/2011 10:50:43 AM Eastern

Complete Coverage: NATPE 2011

Outgoing NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker called recently
departed MSNBC host Keith Olbermann an "incredible talent," and noted he was an
important part of the MSNBC brand, but refused to comment on the separation.

"I can't say anything beyond what the company has already
said," Zucker said Monday at the NATPE conference in Miami.

Zucker, who notably in recent years has attempted to
position NBC as more of a cable company than a broadcast company, also said he
has become more confident in the health of broadcast.

"I feel better about broadcasting today than I have in a
long time," he said. "Obviously a few years ago the economy concerned all of
us, that has come back, we are on a real upswing with regard to the advertising
marketplace, both on the English and Spanish side."

He also noted the success of broadcasters in securing
retrans money has made a big difference.

"I think the model feels a little better," he says. "[That]
wasn't clear a few years ago, it will make a huge difference in the viability
of broadcast networks. I think broadcasting is in as strong a position as it
has been in a long time."

Zucker also noted that despite the rights fees for
professional football not dropping anytime soon, it should remain a priority.

"If you can afford something, it's probably the NFL," he
said. "You have to make choices."

Zucker also said he doesn't know what his next move is going
to be after he leaves NBC Universal.

"Friday will be my last day," he said.  "On Monday, I have
no idea what I am going to do."

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