The Insider

May 19, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Send the youngsters from the room. This item is for mature audiences only.
NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker appeared au naturel in a video that debuted at the NBC upfront. Then he turned unexpectedly press-shy when The Insider asked whether CBS CEO Les Moonves, who has prided himself on going where no network executive had gone before in slick upfront videos, could possibly top Mr. Zucker’s Austin Powers-ful scene in which only a candle came between Mr. Zucker and his audience until the candle flared and singed a certain body part.
Mr. Zucker said he wasn’t going to respond because, “I didn’t take any potshots at anyone else. I took the high road.” When The Insider suggested that some might not consider a “starkers” public appearance the high road, Mr. Zucker’s wife, Caryn, seemed to second that notion with a laugh.
Two days later it was video time for Mr. Moonves, who took potshots at everybody. He was seen in a CSI parody as a well-dressed and smiling but unidentified corpse that had a tiny heart and big brass balls. (It was a second showing of the video, which had its New York debut March 19, the night Mr. Moonves was honored by the IRTS and Iraq was bombed by the United States.)
Remember those quainter times when Mr. Zucker was content to cast himself as a Broadway impresario, Mr. Moonves played a Baby Moses, Fox sales chief Jon Nesvig sat on the toilet in Ally McBeal’s unisex bathroom, Fox Sports Chairman David Hill dressed up as a hooker and ABC Entertainment Chairman Lloyd Braun was wooed by The Bachelor?
The Insider also asks: Was that Mr. Zucker’s or a double’s body and whose job is it to keep the body buff? And were those Mr. Moonves’ or borrowed brass balls and whose job is it to keep them buffed?
On a More Serious Note …
With Paul Slavin promoted from executive producer of World News Tonight to senior VP of the division, most ABC Newsies expect This Week With George Stephanopoulos executive producer Jon Banner to take the helm of World News and Nightline executive producer Tom Bettag to add This Week to his portfolio.
Many of these same watercooler oddsmakers also are betting that Rick Kaplan, the former ABC News producer and fomer CNN/U.S. president, will stick around after the expiration of his short-term deal to produce ABC’s Iraq war coverage because he has friends in the right places and he is an undeniably talented producer.