NBC’s business plan: burn money, then burn more money

Item: NBC will pay Conan O’Brien a severance of $40 million— no, wait, maybe it’s $45 million. Well, some of the dough will go to O’Brien’s laid-off staffers, but still: that’s a ton of money to not work.

Item: NBC is going to lose hundreds of millions of dollars broadcasting the Winter Olympics next month.

This is funny because: Funny like you wanna cry, actually. It looks like NBC is no different from Goldman Sachs or Citibank: If you’re in charge at NBC, there’s just no way you can fuck up so badly that you’ll lose your job. Sharon Waxman at TheWrap summarizes the magic that is Jeff Zucker:

He’d been regarded as an executive who, after succeeding at the “Today” show, had been promoted, failed and continued to fail upward in that signature way that smart, savvy executives do.

He has taken responsibilty for the disastrous decision to move Leno out of the failed 10 p.m. slot. That’s one thing. But the way he has mishandled negotiations these past two weeks have been a final indignity for the network.

With Zucker at the helm, the sudden decision devolved quickly into insults and lawsuit threats.

So what happened?

It took a grown-up who reports to Zucker, Universal president Ron Meyer, to bring the two sides together and strike the basic deal points.

For a more succinct wrapup, see Adam Sandler explain what NBC really stands for. Though honestly, Sandler’s being unfair to a part of the female body I bet he likes quite a lot.

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Ken Patterson
Thu, Jan 21, 2010 4:06pm

Yeah, but there’s no “D” (or “A”, or “SH”) in NBC. You can only go with what you’re given…

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Thu, Jan 21, 2010 4:53pm

He could have said, “Nothing But Cretins.”