There are a number of things that I find real pleasure in. Among the top are listening to The Replacements, randomly catching the movie Airplane on television, watching documentaries, reading a great book, watching Family Guy and ripping on media mogul charlatan Jeff Zucker. When any two of these collide, it’s pure joy…the type of joy a child derives from jangling keys.
You may recall that Jeff Zucker used to be the head of NBC. You might also recall that under his tutelage, he took a forward thinking blue chip television network (NBC) and turned it into a grade school case study on ineptitude, lack of leadership and broadcast network devoid of vision (firing Kevin Riley to hire spoiled brat and epic rube Ben Silverman comes immediately to mind).
Jeff Zucker, if he is to be remembered for anything, should be remembered for the organizational and creative carnage he left within NBCUniversal.
Thankfully, when Comcast came in, Zucker went out.
Jeff Zucker then went on to taint Katie Couric’s fastly fading luster by misleading her into thinking she could host a daytime talk show. She’s now been banished to, what mainstream media considers to be a leper colony, the Internet.
And in typical Zucker fashion, when the going got tough at Couric’s show…Zucker got going. Smelling defeat, he jumped ship to become president of CNN before Couric’s show completely sank.
Surprisingly, he has had some luck at CNN. To be fair, it’s important to put his “success” and “luck” at CNN into perspective. That network was so far in the shitter that airing two monkey’s throwing crap at one another probably would have gotten better ratings, and been more enlightening, than any of their shows.
One of his first moves there was bewildering, and yet very Zucker-esque. He decreed last year to move CNN ( the Cable News Network) away from news. However, the disappearance of Malaysia flight 370 has, probably begrudgingly, kept him in the news game.
Now to give him some credit, he has green lit some interesting things. Namely the Alex Gibney and Robert Redford produced docu-series Death Row Stories, narrated by Susan Sarandon.
I watched an episode last night.
While contextually interesting and certainly on point for my liking, I found it sub-par Alex Gibney. Gibney is truly one of the more interesting and important commercial documentary filmmakers working today and I felt this was either phoned in or a cash grab. Maybe both?
Or maybe Gibney is losing his touch? I have yet to finish his documentary about Lance Armstrong, The Armstrong Lie. As interesting as one might think it would be, it is amazingly dull. How is a documentary about the single most important cyclist, and arguably most successful sports doper, boring? I suppose that requires some skill.
With Death Row Stories, I was a little disappointed that the series had no bite. With a topic as divisive and combustible as the death penalty and having two of the most vocal opponents of the death penalty, Redford and Sarandon, participating, I expected a little…something. Anything other than a rudimentary re-telling of the case.
While I genuinely I have the utmost respect for all three, I have to say Death Row Stories seemed more suited to Morgan Spurlock. Something tells me that commercial vibe has Jeff Zucker’s brown fingered touch all over it.
Death Row Stories didn’t suck…it just wasn’t what I would have expected from the caliber of Gibney, Redford or Sarandon.
If you want to see a superior death row serial, watch Werner Herzog’s ID Discovery series On Death Row. It’s much much better and actually HAS an opinion (like it or not). The added bonus is that it comes with Herzog’s mordant and Germanic accented voice over.
I don’t get it. Either Jeff Zucker is one charming motherflucker OR he has photos of EVERY power player in Hollywood (and beyond) in some sort of compromising position. My guess would be photos with Taiwanese transvestite’s (which may connect him to the missing plane…just a theory). I tend to lean towards the latter because there is no other explanation for this man’s career trajectory.
ANYWAY, last night I was partaking in one of the things that makes me happy, watching Family Guy. Lo and behold, out of nowhere, two of my worlds collided, Family Guy and calling out Jeff Zucker: