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CNN to begin the Jeff Zucker era

CNN on Thursday named former NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker as its new top executive, searching for a way to turn around the original cable news network as it has lagged behind rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

Charles Dharapak/AP

CNN on Thursday named former NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker as its new top executive, searching for a way to turn around the original cable news network as it has lagged behind rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

It's official: Jeff Zucker will be taking over from Jim Walton as president of CNN Worldwide in January. 

CNN just announced that "Zucker will assume executive oversight of a portfolio of 23 branded news and information businesses that includes CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN.com and HLN and reaches more than 2 billion people in some 200 countries around the world."

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Zucker has a long history at NBC, rising from a researcher for NBC Sports to become the executive producer of "Today" and finally the President and CEO of NBC Universal. He is currently the executive producer of the syndicated daytime series "Katie."

Let's see what he can do for the troubled news channel, which has been slipping in the ratings while the more partisan cable news outlets Fox News and MSNBC have been thriving. His bold moves at NBC weren't always successful, creatively or ratings-wise, from "supersizing" sitcoms and filling primetime with mediocre reality shows to the 2010 late-night debacle involving Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno. During Zucker's tenure, the network fell from No. 1 to No. 4.

But CNN needs bold right now. Shaking up is in order. Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Piers Morgan, brace yourselves. 

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