Zucker Hopes for Strike Dialogue
On Day 29 of the Hollywood writers strike, NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker said he’s "hoping the two sides will begin a real dialogue" when they are scheduled to meet again tomorrow.
Studios and networks made a new offer to the Writers’ Guild of America last week, and the union, which is pushing for a bigger share of revenue from digital versions of shows, said it needed several days to consider it.
Speaking at UBS's 35th annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City, .Mr. Zucker said that while NBC and other broadcast networks' late-night talk show went into reruns when the strike hit, most of NBCU's entertainment networks could run with original programming until February or March.
He said cable channels Bravo and Oxygen could run with almost exclusively original programming until then, while for USA, Bravo, and the prime-time lineup at NBC would be able to run with mostly original content.
Mr. Zucker said that if the strike were to last into spring, it is possible the annual upfront advertising sales presentations might be derailed. He seemed confident, however, that the short, concentrated upfront selling season in May would survive because it is the most efficient way to auction off ad time.
"I don't think that would change," Mr. Zucker said.
The NBCU executive said he is "not really ready to consider a prolonged strike of that magnitude,” however.
"I am an optimistic person," he said. "I have to remain optimistic."