Lauren Zalaznick is fighting to keep NBC Universal from shutting down her prized cable network, Trio. NBC brass said they would hold off deciding the fate of the cult network when they completed their $14 billion takeover of Vivendi Universal Entertainment in May.
Zalaznick, who supervised Trio under VUE, so impressed NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, he gave her the reigns of both Trio and NBC’s Bravo. But some NBC executives worry that Trio’s lean viewership and distribution don’t justify heroic measures to keep it alive. Zucker says he expects a decision to be made by the end of the summer. NBC execs see a range of options. They could cut programming and marketing spending to eliminate Trio’s red ink. Or beef it up with a $50 million investment. That might call for a different approach to its programming, which focuses heavily on television as pop culture.But Zalaznick argues there’s a place for a highbrow channel in the cable universe, particularly since Bravo shifted from artsy to mainstream fare.