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NATPE News: Zucker signs off at NATPE; eyes return to producing

Outgoing NBC Universal boss Jeff Zucker has hinted his next move will be a return to producing TV shows.

Speaking at the NATPE convention in Miami, the outgoing CEO told delegates that through his 24-year career at NBC and NBCU producing news and sports shows had been the highlights. “I’ve been thinking a lot about getting back into that,” he said. However there are no immediate plans afoot. “Friday is my last day,” said the NBCU boss, adding that he’d never had a day off in his career. “On Monday I have no idea what I’m going to do.”

In his keynote Zucker also said that making content available on digital services – and specifically Netflix – has proved a useful way to make up the shortfall that would once have been filled with syndication dollars.

Zucker’s conference session was followed immediately with a session featuring Ben Silverman. Now the boss of IAC-backed Electus, Silverman was co-chairman of entertainment at NBC during a stormy two-year stint at the broadcaster.

In what many delegates read as a swipe at Zucker’s regime, Silverman said that there was a lack of depth of understanding of new business models at the broadcaster, where he was a lone voice.

“You can’t do it alone, because the people who have done it for the 30 years before you got there. They have watched 17 people take that chair and then move on, they’re basically entrenched in the way they do their business, and they’re going to continue to do it in the same way,” Silverman said. He added that his talent for building businesses did not fit with the corporate role at NBC. “If you are an entrepreneur, it’s really hard not to be an entrepreneur, and that’s something that I just very much realized.”